Not all crime victims are eligible for a U visa. Your eligibility depends upon meeting certain requirements as determined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Who is Eligible for a U Visa?
In order to be eligible for a U visa, you need to satisfy certain requirements and file a petition known as USCIS Form I-918. As noted above, it is not enough that you have been a crime victim. The basic requirements are that you:
- Have been the victim of certain qualifying criminal activity.
- Have suffered significant physical and/or mental abuse as the result of the qualifying criminal activity.
- Possess useful information concerning the criminal activity.
- Will be (or already have been) helpful to law enforcement in seeking out the person or persons who committed the crime(s) in question.
- Are admissible to the US, or, if not, are applying for a waiver. In this case, you would use Form I-192 for a waiver of inadmissibility.
You do not have to be the direct victim of a crime in order to qualify for a U visa. If you are a witness to a murder, for example, suffer substantial emotional harm as a result, and can assist the police in apprehending the person who committed the murder, you may be able to obtain a U visa.
What Are Qualifying Crimes for U Visa Eligibility
In order to be eligible for a U visa, the mental or physical abuse you have suffered must have been caused by certain specified criminal activity. Although not all crimes will qualify, the list of those that are included is extensive. Among them are:
- Numerous sex crimes, including sexual assault (rape), sex trafficking, prostitution, and incest.
- Felony assault.
- Domestic violence.
- Homicide (murder and manslaughter).
- Abduction and kidnapping.
- Blackmail and extortion.
- Witness tampering.
This is by no means a complete list of all the offenses covered under U visa eligibility. You can see, however, that the list includes many violent and non-violent crimes.
U Visas and Law Enforcement
An essential element of the U visa process is assisting law enforcement in attempting to apprehend the person or persons responsible for the crime that caused your injury. Accordingly, in order to qualify for this particular visa, you must submit, as part of the application process, a certification, Form I-918 supplement b, signed by a law enforcement officer or official. That form includes information about whether you have relevant knowledge about the offense, and whether you have been (or will be) helpful in investigating or prosecuting the person(s) responsible for the criminal activity.
Phoenix U Visa Lawyer
Obtaining a U visa is the answer to the prayers of many people. In addition to paving the way for living and working legally in the United States, in many cases it may include immigration by your family members. But as with many immigration matters, the path to success can be confusing, and failure to adhere to the strict requirements of the USCIS will usually lead to a denial of your application.
To give yourself and your family the best chance of obtaining a U visa, you need an experienced Phoenix immigration lawyer at your side. At Castañeda Immigration Law, we know the potential pitfalls in a U visa application, and how to avoid them; how to ensure that you provide the appropriate information; and how to increase the chances that your application for a U visa will be successful. Contact us for information about a U visa, or about any other immigration matter.