If you were the victim of a crime and if you can help law enforcement investigate and/or prosecute that crime, you may be eligible to file for a U Visa.
You and your family members (spouse and children) can all benefit from an approved U Visa. Three (3) years after a U Visa is approved, you and your family members can apply for a Green Card.
A person who has suffered physical or mental harm as a result of having been a victim of certain crimes may obtain a U visa if he or she is or has reported that crime to the police and made themselves available for assistance in the investigation of the crime or prosecution of the criminal actor. The person who committed the crime does not need to be arrested for an individual to qualify for a U Visa.
In many cases, U Visas are approved despite one’s prior immigration history.
Some of the qualifying crimes include:
- Violent crimes: Such as robbery, assault, domestic violence, manslaughter, murder, vehicular homicide, and stalking.
- Sexual crimes: This covers crimes such as sexual assault, incest, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, prostitution, and female genital mutilation.
- Obstruction of justice crimes: Witness tampering, withholding evidence, and perjury.
- Enslavement crimes: In this category are forced labor, slavery, abduction, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, and debt servitude.
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting: Such as H1-B violations or failure to pay wages.
How to Apply:
Applying for a U Visa is a two-step process:
- The first step is obtaining the required certification, called an I-918 Supplement B, from law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, or the investigative government body that the crime was reported to.
- The second step is filing your I-918 Application with USCIS together with all supporting evidence and any waivers that you may require.
If you were the victim of trafficking – including labor trafficking and sex trafficking – and have or are willing to report this trafficking to law enforcement, you may be eligible to file for a T Visa.
- You may be eligible for T nonimmigrant status if you:
- Are or were a victim of human trafficking as defined above;
- Are in the United States due to trafficking;
- Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking; and
- Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States.
T Visa recipients may also petition for certain family members and they are eligible for employment authorization. Thereafter, you and your family members can apply for a Green Card.
Like the U-Visa, the T Visa requires a two-step process, including obtaining a certification from law enforcement.