A U-visa [technically called U Nonimmigrant Status] allows you to get on a path to citizenship and avoid deportation if you are the victim of a serious crime and aid law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution. Only certain types of crimes qualify for such visas and often, you’ll find that you need the help of law enforcement officials during the process of applying for such a visa. Having an attorney help you navigate this process is essential.
An important part of the process is proving that you are aiding an investigation or did aid one. You will need an affidavit called a Certification of Helpfulness signed by a law enforcement agency. This form is proof that you cooperated not only in the investigation but also in the prosecution of the crime.
One of the reasons why U-visas were created was to encourage immigrant victims of serious crimes to work with law enforcement officials. The U-visa encourages victims who would otherwise be afraid to go to the police for fear of deportation to remain in the country and cooperate with law enforcement officials. It can be intimidating to work with the police if you are living in Los Angeles (or elsewhere) illegally, but your willingness to cooperate with the authorities may help you stay in the country.
To qualify for a U-visa, you will have to prove that you were the victim of a serious crime. Types of crimes that could qualify you for a U-visa include but are not limited to manslaughter, torture, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, prostitution, abduction, or extortion among others.
Next, you will have to prove that you are cooperating with the authorities. It is also important that you do not refuse any reasonable requests from law enforcement. If law enforcement officers inform the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that you are not aiding the investigation, your U-visa application may be denied. Therefore, you will probably have to answer questions, provide a written statement, or even participate as a witness in trial if requested. Note, this is very infrequent to be asked to testify in court but you should be willing to do so
There are limits, however, to how much you must cooperate with the authorities to secure your visa. You should not be required to put yourself in a compromised position such as confronting the person who committed the crime while wearing a wire. If you are concerned about what you have been asked to do, contact our office to have an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney review your options and help protect your rights.