U Non-Immigrant Visa
The U Non-immigrant status (U visa) is for victims of certain criminal acts that have taken place in the United States. Victims must demonstrate that they have suffered physical and/or emotional harm as a result of the qualifying crime. A qualifying crime may include, but it not limited to, domestic violence, trafficking of aliens, violent assault, robbery etc.
Congress created the U non-immigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes while, at the same time, offer protection to victims of such crimes. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.
– You are the victim of a qualifying criminal act, and have experienced physical and/or mental harm as a result of the crime.
– You have the ability to provide valid information related to the criminal activity to the authorities. If you are under 16 and/or have disability, a mentor or a guardian can provide relevant information on your behalf.
– You have assisted/have been assisting/ or will be assisting the police/authorities in the investigation of the crime.
– The crime has violated U.S. rules or laws and has taken place in the United States.
– You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver. An experienced immigration attorney can help you determine whether you are admissible or not.
Qualifying criminal activity
Crimes whose victims may qualify for U non-immigrant status include:
Abusive Sexual Contact
Female Genital Mutilation
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Obstruction of Justice
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes, including attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of any of these offenses, or similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
Certification of helpfulness
A petition for U non-immigrant status must also contain a certification of helpfulness in the form of a U Non-immigrant Status Certification (Form I-918, Supplement B) from a certifying law enforcement agency. This document demonstrates the petitioner “has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful” in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
The government entities which are considered “certifying agencies” for the purpose of a U visa application include Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges, as well as child protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor.
It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney for legal assistance and guidance.
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