The U visa is a powerful immigration option for victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse and have cooperated with law enforcement agencies during the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. If you have been the victim of a crime and think you may qualify for a U Visa, call our attorneys at The Law Office of Jesse Sanchez today!
Understanding the U Visa
The U visa was created to protect and support immigrant victims of crime and encourage them to cooperate with law enforcement. It provides victims with temporary legal status in the United States, along with a pathway to lawful permanent residency (a green card) in the future.
Key Characteristics of the U Visa:
Temporary Status: U visa recipients are given legal status in the United States, typically for four years, with the option to apply for extensions.
Work Authorization: U visa holders can apply for employment authorization, allowing them to work legally in the United States.
Derivative Benefits: Certain family members of the U visa holder can also be eligible for U visa derivative status.
Eligibility for U Visa
To be eligible for a U visa, an person must meet the following:
Victim of a Qualifying Crime: The applicant must have been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, which includes offenses such as domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other serious crimes.
Substantial Harm: The victim must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.
Cooperation with Law Enforcement: The applicant must have cooperated with law enforcement, including reporting the crime, providing information, and assisting in the investigation or prosecution.
Certification: The law enforcement agency handling the case must provide a certification (Form I-918, Supplement B) confirming the victim's cooperation and helpfulness in the investigation.
Applying for a U Visa
The U visa application process is complicated and involves several forms and supporting documents, including the certification from law enforcement. Working with an experienced immigration attorney is crucial to ensure that your application is complete and submitted correctly.
The U visa is a lifeline for victims of crime who have suffered abuse and cooperated with law enforcement. It provides protection from deportation, work authorization, and the potential for lawful permanent residency. If you believe you qualify for a U visa, seeking the guidance of an immigration attorney is highly recommended. A knowledgeable attorney can assist with your application, provide legal advice, and help you navigate the complex immigration system to secure a better future for yourself and your family. If you have been the victim of a crime and think you may qualify for a U Visa, call us at The Law Office of Jesse Sanchez, we are here to help!