U VISA AND T VISA
“U” Nonimmigrant Visa:
The “U” nonimmigrant status visa was enacted with Congress’s passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October 2000. The U Visa provides qualified crime victims who have, are, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a crime with lawful immigration status and work authorization. To qualify for the U visa, you must be a victim and have suffered mental, emotional, or physical trauma as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, murder, trafficking of aliens, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment and other qualifying crimes. Lastly, the crime must have violated the laws of the United States or have taken place in the United States. For a more extensive list of qualifying crimes see the chart below.
Those who have been granted U nonimmigrant status and meet certain requirements may apply for permanent resident status. To apply, you must have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous 3 years since the date of admission on the U visa. Then, USCIS must determine if the applicant’s continuous presence in the U.S. is in the best interests of the public, or if it is justifiable on humanitarian grounds for the good of the applicant’s family. An alien victim may also include qualifying family members as derivatives in their application.
Qualifying family members include:
If the petitioner (alien victim) is under the age of 21, they may petition on behalf of their:
- Unmarried siblings under the age of 18
If the petitioner is over the age of 21, they may petition on behalf of their:
U Visa Qualifying Crimes:
· Abusive Sexual Contact
· Domestic Violence
· False Imprisonment
· Female Genital Mutilation
· Felonious Assault
· Fraud in Foreign Labor Contract
· Involuntary Servitude
· Obstruction of Justice
|· Sexual Assault
· Sexual Exploitation
· Slave Trade
· Witness Tampering
· Unlawful Criminal Restraint
· Other Related Crimes*^
*Included any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar
^Also Includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.
The T visa was implemented when Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 in order to provide victims who have suffered severe brutality the ability to stay in the U.S. and receive federal support and protection from crimes, such as crimes against women. The law also allows for law enforcement agencies more comprehensive abilities to persecute and convict traffickers.