The U nonimmigrant status is a nonimmigrant (temporary) status that allows non–citizen victims of crime to stay in the United States, obtain employment authorization, apply for lawful permanent resident status, and help certain family members obtain immigration status as well.
U visa status (also known as U nonimmigrant status) was created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.
Benefits of a U Visa:
- U visa holders are eligible for the following benefits:
- Lawful status for up to 4 years;
- Eligibility to adjust status to lawful permanent resident after 3 years;
- Automatic grant of work authorization;
- Derivative visas for qualifying family members.
- Demonstrate you suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from the crime certified;
- Demonstrate you have information regarding the criminal activity, usually explained in the certification; and
- Have a qualifying crime
- Demonstrate the criminal activity violated U.S. law; or occurred in the U.S. (including Indian [Native American] country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the U.S.,
- U visa applicants must also show “admissibility” to the United States or that they qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility if they are not
- Rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above-mentioned crimes;
- You have information about the criminal activity (or if you are under 16 years old, that your parent, guardian, or “next friend” has information about the criminal activity);
It’s highly recommended you consult with an attorney familiar with the U visa process. The forms and laws are confusing and it can be easy for anyone to make a mistake or leave something out that may result in USCIS denying your application. A skilled visa attorney can make sure the process is prepared correctly.