If so, you may qualify for the U visa. The U Visa was created to provide law enforcement with an effective tool to encourage immigrant victims to come forward and report crimes and assist in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. Until enactment of the U visa, millions of undocumented victims remained silent and perpetrators continued to exploit and harm their victims. The U visa provides undocumented immigrants who have assisted law enforcement with the ability to obtain lawful status. The U visa also allows applicants to include dependent children, spouses, parents, and siblings in the U visa process, enabling applicants to obtain status for their family members.
The U visa is subject to numerical limitations every year. Only a certain number of U visas are issued every year. Once the cap has been reached, approved applicants must wait in line until a visa becomes available. However, those awaiting U visas are able to apply for employment authorization in the interim. The U visa is a significant benefit and can end years of uncertainty as an undocumented immigrant. It can also reunify and enable your loved ones to also obtain lawful status.
The following crimes are covered under the U visa:
Demonstrating Cooperation with Law Enforcement: U Visa Certification
An applicant must demonstrate that he/she was helpful or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of a covered criminal activity. This requirement is demonstrated not only through an applicant’s own statements, or police reports, but by a “U visa Certification.” This certification is a form signed by a law enforcement official certifying the applicant’s cooperation and helpfulness. This official could be a police officer, district attorney, or other type of law enforcement official. Law enforcement does not have to comply with a U visa certification. Often times, it takes advocacy to successfully obtain the certification. We regularly work with police officers and put together packets for our clients to help with the police department or district attorney’s decision making process as to whether or not they will agree to sign the U certification. We realize this is a critical step because without this certification, there is no way to apply for the U visa. Talk to us today about working with us to work with law enforcement to obtain this critical element of the U visa application. Click here for more information.
Visas for Victim’s Family Members
A U visa applicant may be able to file a petition on behalf of his or her family members. Click here for more information.
Indirect Victims and Bystanders to a Crime
Even if you saw a crime but were not the direct victim of it, you still may be able to benefit from the U visa program. An indirect victim is typically a family member of the person who has died or who is incompetent or incapacitated. The most common example is an undocumented parent, with a U.S. citizen minor child that has been a victim of a serious crime. Additionally, being a bystander to a serious crime may also qualify you for a U Visa even if you were not victimized personally. The U visa could be issued to a bystander victim who is a stranger who saw the criminal event occur and was so traumatized by what s/he saw that they suffered severe harm (a miscarriage, for example). Click here for more information.
The U visa can also provide a route to obtain waivers for many inadmissibility factors not available in other forms of traditional or common routes to immigration relief. The U visa can be a way for an applicant to finally obtain lawful status, without being barred for past immigration violations, some minor criminal convictions, and other traditional bars to immigration relief. For more information, click here. The U visa Nonimmigrant waiver can waive almost all grounds of inadmissability except, most notably, terrorism.