What is a U visa?
Q. What is a U visa?
A. The U visa was created by Congress in 2000 through The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The U visa gives immigration status to immigrants who have been victims of certain violent crimes and who are assisting or are willing to assist authorities in the investigation of the crimes.
Do I need a lawyer to file an application for a U visa?
Q. Do I need a lawyer to file an application for a U visa?
A. No, legal representation is not required. However, having competent legal representation will help you avoid major pitfalls and mistakes that may cause you delays and problems in the process. An experienced attorney can also help you plan and prepare your case so that you will have a greater likelihood of success.
How can I apply?
Q. How can I apply?
A. The attorneys at SilzerLaw can guide you and represent you in this process. If you have any questions, you may call SilzerLaw’s associate attorney, Camila Pachon, and schedule a consultation to see Mr. Silzer.
Why was the U visa law passed?
Q. Why was the U visa law passed?
A. Many undocumented immigrants are reluctant to come forward, report crime, and cooperate in investigations due to their immigration status. The U visa I meant to encourage immigrant to come forward to report crimes and assist in the investigation of these crime. In this way, the U visa is a tool for law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute certain types of criminal cases with the assistance of immigrants. The U visa also helps law enforcement agencies to provide assistance to immigrant victims of crime.
Who qualifies for a U visa?
Q. Who qualifies for a U visa?
A. Immigrants who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse resulting from a wide range of criminal activity (see below), and who have been helpful, are being helpful or are likely to be helpful with the investigation or prosecution of the crime qualify for a U visa. The U visa provides eligible immigrants with authorized stay in the United States and employment authorization.
What are the requirements to qualify for a U visa?
Q. What are the requirements to qualify for a U visa?
A. To qualify for a U visa, immigrant victims of crime must:
Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from certain criminal activity;
Have information regarding the criminal activity;
Assist government officials in the investigation or prosecution of such criminal activity;
Be certified by a Law Enforcement agency as having helped or having information that could help in the investigation or persecution of the criminal activity; and
The criminal activity they were a victim of must have violated US law or occurred in the United States (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possession of the United States.
What types of crimes qualify for a U visa?
Q.What types of crimes qualify for a U visa?
A. Rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, peonage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, black mail, false imprisonment, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above.
How long is the U visa for?
Q. How long is the U visa for?
A. U visa status is granted for a period of up to 4 years. Extensions are possible in some occasions. After three years, U visa holders may apply for lawful permanent residence (green card). After 5 years as permanent resident, you may apply for United States citizenship.
Does the perpetrator of the crime need to be a United States Citizen of Permanent Resident?
Q. Does the perpetrator of the crime need to be a United States Citizen of Permanent Resident?
A. . The immigration status of the perpetrator is irrelevant.
Can the relatives of a U visa applicant obtain status as well?
Q. Can the relatives of a U visa applicant obtain status as well?
A. Yes. Some relatives of the principal U applicant may qualify for derivative status, for example, the principal applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under 21..
How much does it cost to apply?
Q. How much does it cost to apply?
A. The United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services, commonly known as USCIS, does not charge a filing fee for a U visa application. However, you will incur attorney’s fees and possible costs of gathering evidence.