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Barrera Legal Group can help you apply for a U-Visa also known as U Visa nonimmigrant status.

U Visa nonimmigrant status is a form of relief that stays or prevents removal from the United States while also providing work authorization to noncitizen victims of who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity such as in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. The U Visa will allow a noncitizen victim to remain in the United States for a period of four years where the noncitizen can later apply for a green card after three years in U-nonimmigrant status.

U Visa Eligibility and Requirements

U visa eligibility requirements include:

  • Being a victim of a qualifying criminal act.

  • Suffering serious physical or mental abuse resulting from victimization during criminal activity.

  • Possessing information about the criminal activity and sharing this information with law enforcement officials. For children under 16 or for those whose disability prevents sharing information, a parent, guardian, or next of kin may do so for the victim.

  • Helping law enforcement with the investigation of or the prosecution of crimes, either in the past, present, or future. For children under 16 or for those whose disability prevents sharing information, a parent, guardian, or next of kin may do so for the victim.

  • The qualifying criminal activity happened in the United States breaking U.S. laws.

  • Meeting requirements for admission to the United States. If not admissible, a waiver may be obtained on Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant.

What Crimes Qualify Victims for a U Visa?

U visa eligibility is based on a wide range of criminal activities including

  • Abduction

  • Abusive Sexual Contact

  • Blackmail Domestic

  • Violence Extortion

  • False Imprisonment

  • Felonious Assault

  • Female Genital Mutilation

  • Felonious Assault

  • Being Held Hostage

  • Incest

  • Involuntary Servitude

  • Kidnapping

  • Manslaughter

  • Murder

  • Obstruction of Justice

  • Peonage

  • Perjury

  • Prostitution

  • Rape

  • Sexual Assault

  • Sexual Exploitation

  • Slave Trade

  • Torture

  • Trafficking

  • Witness Tampering

  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint

  • Other Related Crimes

U-Visa Application Process

Documents Required for a U-Visa

  • Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status

  • Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification signed by the appropriate officer of the law enforcement agency. In this form, the official will verify the past or present helpfulness of the victim or her or his likeliness to be helpful in pursuing investigation and prosecution.

  • Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, requests waiver of inadmissibility, if needed.

  • A statement from the victim detailing the crimes creating victim status, and

  • Proof of all eligibility requirements that can be found in the Forms section titled “Humanitarian Benefits Based Forms.”

Filing for Family Members

Some family members may qualify for a derivative U visa due to their relationship to the victim whom originally requested a U visa. Derivative U visa applications may be submitted after the primary U visa applicant obtains approval.

  • A primary U visa applicant under 21 years of age may request U visas for his or her family members, including spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18.

  • A primary U visa applicant over 21 years of age may apply for her or his spouse and children to obtain U visas.

Obtaining a Green Card from U-Visa Status.

One of the benefits of obtaining a U-Visa other than being protected from removal and receiving work authorization for a period of four years, is the fact that a U-Visa beneficiary after maintaining such status for a period of three years, is eligible to apply for a green card without the requirement of a family or employer as a petitioner.

 

The following criteria must be met by the U-1 beneficiary in order to qualify for the green card. 

  • The beneficiary must file immigration form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Legal Permanent Resident Status and pay the required fee.

  • The beneficiary must have been admitted in U-1 nonimmigrant status.

  • The beneficiary must maintain U-1 nonimmigrant status at the time of filing the form I-485.

  • The beneficiary must be physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years since admission as a U-1 nonimmigrant and maintain such status at the time of filing the form I-485 through the date the immigration service makes a decision on the Adjustment of Status Application.

  • The beneficiary must not have unreasonably refused to provide assistance in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity, from when the beneficiary was first admitted into U-1 status through the date the immigration service makes a decision on the application.

  • The beneficiary is not inadmissible under section 212(a)(3)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which are acts related to involvement in Nazi persecution, genocide, or the commission of any act of torture or extrajudicial killing.

  • The beneficiary’s presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds or to ensure family unity or is in the public interest.

  • The beneficiary merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

 

What to submit to USCIS

  • As previously indicated, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the required filing fee;

  • Copy of Form I-797, Approval Notice;

  • Copies of every page of all passports or equivalent travel documents that were valid while you were in U nonimmigrant status (or a valid explanation of why you do not have this evidence);

  • Your own affidavit attesting to your physical presence and evidence of your continuous physical presence;

  • Evidence that you were lawfully admitted in U-1  nonimmigrant status and continue to hold such status at the time you file Form I-485;

  • Evidence that adjustment of status is warranted as a matter of discretion on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest;

  • Two passport-style photographs;

  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;

  • Copy of your birth certificate;

  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record;

  • Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions.

Approval

If the case is approved, USCIS will send a notice confirming approval through the mail, followed by the actual green card. 

 

Once the beneficiary receives the green card, there are no further steps, other than to wait for the necessary period of time to consider applying for naturalization.

Visit our Immigration related articles here.

 

 

 

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