What is the U Visa Program?
The U visa Program was enacted by Congress to help law enforcement agencies with their efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes.
Who Qualifies for a U Visa?
Each year there are a total of 10,000 U visas that are issued. U visas are nonimmigrant visas that are reserved for victims of certain crimes. It grants victims temporary legal status and work eligibility in the United States for a time period of up to four years.
The applicant needs to have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to a criminal activity in at least one of the following categories: rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, hostage situations, peonage, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes.
What Documents are needed to Apply?
When applying for a U visa, applicant must file Form I-918. In addition to needing to file a Form I-918, there are several other requirements that must be met before applicant can file their petition. Due to the nature of this nonimmigrant visa, applicants must include information on how they can help government officials with learning more about the criminals and the criminal investigation.
In addition to showing how you, as the applicant, can aid law enforcement with the criminal investigation, you must also be willing to actually work with your local law enforcement. The crime cannot have occurred outside of the United States or in a non U.S. territory.
In regards to your Form I-918, not only must you submit it, but you must also have a portion of it certified by a Federal, State or local law enforcement agency. Without doing this, you will not be able to file your U visa petition.
Interesting Fact about U Visas
Since 2009, when the U visa program was implemented, more than 117,579 victims and family members have received U visas.
Why Hiring an Attorney is Important
When filing a U Visa petition, it is important to work with an immigration attorney to ensure that you meet all of the requirements, such as ascertaining the correct approval on your I-918.
To discuss a U Visa petition with an experienced immigration attorney from the American Visa Law Group, feel free to click the contact us tab and fill out the inquiry form or call us at 510-500-1155.