U Non-Immigrant Visa
The United States Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in 2000. The reasoning behind this legislation is to foster cooperation between the victims and the law enforcement agencies in their investigation and prosecution of those who commit domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered mental and/or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to provide protection and better serve victims of crimes. The passage of this of this law resulted in the creation of the U non-immigrant visa.
The intention of the U visa is to provide immigration relief for individuals who have been victims of physical or mental abuse and are helping the law enforcement authorities in the prosecution of those responsible for the crime. In order for the beneficiary to qualify for the U non-immigrant visa, the beneficiary must show that :
- they are a victim of a criminal activity (as specified by USCIS).
- they have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of the criminal activity.
- they or their friend/guardian posses information about the criminal activity.
- they are/were helpful, or are going to be helpful in the prosecution of the crime.
- the crime violated US Laws or occurred in the United States.
The beneficiary can apply for the U-visa whether or not they are inside or outside of the United States. The U visa is valid for four years and extensions are available in limited circumstances. The U-visa holder will also automatically receive work authorization in the United States.
U- Visa Cap
There is a limit of 10, 000 U-visas per year. Once the limit is reached, any new the applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
If the principal beneficiary is under 21 years of age, they may apply for a U-visa on behalf of their spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings under age 18. If the principal beneficiary is over 21 years of age, they may apply for a U-Visa for their spouse and children. Although the dependants of the U visa holder qualify for work authorization, they will need to file an work authorization application to USCIS.
Applying for Green card
The U-visa holder may apply for permanent residency (Green Card) if they meet certain requirements, namely:
- they must have resided in the United States for 3 continuos years while they held the U visa.
- that they made all reasonable effort to aid the law enforcement authorities in the prosecution of the crime.
Any dependents that did not hold a U visa when the principal received the Green card will not be eligible for the U visa but may apply for the Green Card.
How can our Immigration Lawyers in Boston help…..
The immigration attorneys at the Boston Law Offices of Trupti N Patel have experience in helping clients apply for the U visa status. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime such as domestic violence, human trafficking, extortion, involuntary servitude, blackmail or other qualifying crimes please contact the Law Offices of Trupti N Patel & Associates.
What one of our clients had to say about our Immigration Attorneys in Boston…
“It is a great pleasure to mention to you that I got my I-485 approved. I would like to thank you for your excellent professional guidance during the entire process. Also I would like to thank the entire team for wonderful job. Once again thank you all, may God bless you and your team now and always……”
Law Offices of Trupti N Patel & Associates
One Boston Place
201 Washington St #2600
Boston, MA 02108