Victim Visas – U Visas & VAWA
U Nonimmigrant Status (Victim Visa)
Are you the victim of mental or physical abuse? Are you the victim of a violent crime, such as Felonious/Aggravated Assault, Domestic Violence, or Abusive Sexual Contact? If yes, you may be eligible for a Victim Visa, U nonimmigrant status in the United States.
At Potra Law Firm, we have extensive experience working with local law enforcement agencies to obtain the required documents that are required to file for U nonimmigrant status with USCIS. We have helped countless victims of violent crimes obtain U nonimmigrant status in the United States. Certain family members, such as spouses and children under 21 years of age, can also apply for U nonimmigrant status through your case. These family members can also file for a work permit giving them lawful permission to work in the United States.
History and Requirements of the Victim Visa, U Nonimmigrant Status
Congress created the U nonimmigrant status for the purposes of protecting victims of violent crimes and abuse, and strengthening the ability of law enforcement to prosecute these crimes and remove violent criminals from our communities. Specifically, U nonimmigrant status (or U Visa) is available to aliens who have suffered mental or physical abuse or are victims of certain listed crimes, and are helpful to or will likely be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
Congress realized that many victims of violent crimes are aliens who are residing in the United States unlawfully, and that these victims are often afraid to report the crime to law enforcement because they believe that law enforcement will put them in deportation proceedings rather than investigate the crime. The U nonimmigrant status addresses this legitimate concern of unlawful aliens by allowing them to apply for lawful status in the United States because they helped law enforcement with the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
You may be eligible for U nonimmigrant status if:
You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity;
You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the qualifying criminal activity;
You have information about the qualifying criminal activity;
You have helped, are helping, or will help law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16, your parents or legal guardian can provide assistance to law enforcement;
The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws, including state laws;
You are admissible to the United States. Please note that if you entered the United States unlawfully, you can apply for a waiver on Form I-192 to request a waiver of inadmissibility.
U nonimmigrant status cap:
It is important to note that the USCIS only grants 10,000 applications for U nonimmigrant status every year. If this limit is met, you are still able to have your application reviewed and approved by USCIS. In this case, your application will be placed “in line” until your U nonimmigrant status becomes available. While you wait to obtain U nonimmigrant status, you are eligible to obtain a work permit and lawfully work in the United States.
Obtaining your green card through a Victim Visa, U nonimmigrant status
If you currently have U nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to obtain your green card. Aliens who obtain U nonimmigrant status are able to file for a green card and become lawful permanent residents of the United States after three years of continuous presence in the United States. If you are currently in U nonimmigrant status and are interested in filing for your green card, contact our office now so that we can help you prepare your green card application (Adjustment of Status Application) to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States!
Have you suffered physical, mental, or emotional abuse from your spouse (or ex-spouse) or parent who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States? You may be eligible to obtain your lawful permanent residence (green card) through the VAWA Victim Visa, which stands for Violence Against Women (and Men) Act. Our attorneys have successfully obtained lawful permanent residence through VAWA Victim Visa for many of our clients who suffered physical or verbal abuse from his or her U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse.
If you are the victim of physical or mental abuse but your spouse is not a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you still may be eligible for U nonimmigrant status, Victim Visa.