The U-Visa program is for victims of certain crimes who wish to work and live in the United States. It is a nonimmigrant visa that is specifically intended for victims and their families. Once approved, the applicant will automatically have work eligibility in the United States for up to four years. This program provides a great opportunity for victims of serious crimes, but not all victims qualify and there are a limited number of visas available.
If you are the victim of a crime and have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of criminal activity, you should contact our office immediately to discuss your case with an experienced and compassionate immigration attorney. As part of the application process, you must prove that you were the victim of a serious crime such as rape, torture, domestic violence, false imprisonment, kidnapping, extortion, or a number of other offenses.
Being a victim of crime is not the only criterion for U-visas. You must also assist government officials in the investigation and prosecution of the individual or individuals that committed the crime. You must work with local law enforcement and the crime must have been committed within the United States or a U.S. territory.
If you suffered great harm because of a serious crime and you are able to aid law enforcement officers in their investigation of the crime, you may petition for U nonimmigrant status. Your Form I-918 must be signed by your local law enforcement agency and the official must confirm that you were helpful during their investigation. You will also have to provide a personal statement regarding the criminal activity of which you were the victim and have evidence to establish each eligibility requirement.
If you qualify for a U-visa, your family may qualify as well. If you are approved and are under the age of 21, you may petition on behalf of your spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings. If you are 21 or older, you may petition on behalf of your spouse and children.
If you wish to live and work in the United States, make sure you research all of your legal options. U-visas are just one of my types of visas that can help you stay here. A Los Angeles immigration attorney can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.