Los Angeles U-Visa Attorney
What is The Purpose of a U-Visa for Crime Victims?
A U visa is a non-immigrant status visa that is available to any immigrant in the United States who has been the victim of a crime. The primary requirement is that the crime victim cooperates with the police or other authorities by reporting the crime and following up with the law enforcement, if so requested. In addition, the victim must have suffered emotional or physical damage as a result of the crime. There are many different types of crimes that qualify, but a good immigration attorney can make a strong argument on your behalf to ensure that your case is taken seriously.
What Qualifies as a Crime?
What is important to understand about the U visa is that it applies to much more than just domestic violence or other violence by a US citizen family member. Rather, it applies to any serious crime committed against someone, including some nonviolent crimes, and even in situations where the person who committed the crime is unknown and is not caught by the police.
Other qualifying crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Involuntary servitude
- Sexual assault
- Obstruction of justice
- False imprisonment
Can an Undocumented Immigrant Apply for a U-Visa?
In many ways, the U visa is similar to a personal amnesty. It does not matter if you do not have a legal immigrant status, have worked without legal authority, or even have been deported previously and returned. The U visa can erase all of that. If you are granted a U visa, you immediately receive a work permit, legal authority to stay here, and any deportation proceedings against you stop. After three years, you can apply for your green card and five years after that you can apply for your United States citizenship.
U Nonimmigrant Status for Indirect Victims and Bystanders
Many immigrants have heard about the path to a green card through a u nonimmigrant status. A u nonimmigrant status is available to victims of certain qualifying crimes, who suffered mental and physical harm due to this crime, and who were helpful in assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of that crime.
However, many do not know that U nonimmigrant status can also be available to those who were not crime victims under certain circumstances. Specifically, immigrant parents can receive a u nonimmigrant status as “indirect victims” of qualifying crimes that happened to their children. Additionally, those who suffered because of witnessing a crime can be considered “bystander victims” for u nonimmigrant status. Finally, family members of deceased victims may be eligible for u nonimmigrant status. Read More
The U-Visa Application Process
U visas can be very challenging to apply for. It requires a number of different forms, supporting documents, evidence, etc. Sometimes, we advise our clients to get a three- to five-page psychosocial report from a therapist or counselor to explain how they have suffered emotional damage from the crime committed against them.
It is strongly advised that you seek the advice of a skilled Los Angeles immigration attorney to help you throughout the process of gathering important documents and filing your U visa application. Sometimes, it is difficult for someone to get their own police report – especially if the crime occurred many years ago – and it can be difficult to have the police sign the documents that are required for your application. An experienced lawyer will help you understand the filing process and will work tirelessly to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Attorney Michael Piston discusses the qualifications and strategy for victims of crime.
For an example of our dedication to our clients and how we were able to help obtain a U visa, read our blog here.
Consult a Knowledgeable Immigration Lawyer
The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. sympathizes with those who have been victimized by a criminal offender, especially if that offender is a spouse who is also a U.S. citizen. We are very dedicated to our U visa clients. We know how terrible it is to be undocumented in the United States and on top of that to have been victimized by a criminal. This is your opportunity for justice, fairness, and a more hopeful future. Attorney Michael Piston can provide you with the greatest chance at receiving a U visa so you can move forward with your life in America.
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