What is a U-visa, and how can it help me?
A U-visa lets victims of crimes who meet certain requirements stay in US. U-visa provides the following benefits:
- You can legally live in the US for 4 years. After 3 years of having U-visa you can apply for a green card to stay in the US permanently and if you get a green card you can eventually become a US citizen.
- With can get a Work Permit.
- You family may get U-visa too
- You may be eligible for certain public benefits in some sates like NY and California.
How do I apply?
To apply, you need to fill out certain forms and put together papers that support what you say on the forms. You do need have to go to court or an interview. It is totally up to the government to decide whether you should receive a U-visa. You must procure a law enforcement certification (form I-918 Supplement B) that shows that you helped law enforcement.
Who can certify my U-visa petition?
Police officers, prosecutors, judge, department of human services, EEOC, State or Federal Agency Employee with criminal investigative capacity.
How long will U-visa application take?
Processing time varies but it usually takes 6-9 months to approve or deny a U-visa application. If you are already in court, you can usually ask the judge to postpone you case in order to see if you qualify for U-visa.
Can I apply for U-visa if I am already illegal, out of status, or have no papers?
You can apply for U-visa if you do not have immigration papers. You can also apply if you over-stayed your visa or if you are outside of US.
If I get a U-visa, can my family get papers too?
If you get U-visa, you can get papers for some of your family members too. You just have to apply for them. It does not matter if your family members are in the US or if they are here legally. If you are under 21 you can apply for your parents, legally married spouse, children under 21 and your unmarried brothers and sister under 18. If you are 21 or over then you can apply for your legally married spouse and your children.
What is the deadline for filing U-visa?
There is no deadline for applying U-visa.
What is my filing fees for U-visa?
There is no filing fees for U-visa applicant and qualifying family members. There may be fingerprinting fees for family members but a waiver can be requested if there is financial difficulty.
Can I get a U-visa?
To get U-visa you need 3 things:
- You must have been a victim of a crime in US (crime must have happened in US);
- You must have been helpful or likely to be helpful to police and/or prosecutor(law enforcement); and
- the crime must have hurt you physically or mentally.
What are the crimes for U-visa?
- Domestic Abuse ( your family or partner has beaten or harassed you)
- Felonious assault (ex: shooting, stabbing, robbery, mugging, or home invasion when you are home)
- Involuntary servitude (being forced to do work that you do not want to do)
- Peonage (being forced to work you do not want to do to pay off a debt)
- Sexual assault
- Abusive sexual contact
- Sexual exploitation
- Female genital mutilation
- false imprisonment
- Obstruction of Justice
- slave trade
- unlawful criminal restraint
- fraud in foreign labor contracting
- witness tampering
- Being held hostage
and an attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of these 28 crimes will work too.
How do i know if i helped law enforcement?
- did you call police? (dial 911)
- did you tell police about what happened?
- did you answer their questions?
- did you let them take pictures?
- did you help the police find who did the crime?
- did you talk to a prosecutor?
- did you testify in court?
No, you do not need all of the above. If you answered yes to any of the above, you helped law enforcement. It could be as simple as dialing 911.
How do i know if i was hurt or hurt enough for U-visa?
To qualify for U-visa, you must have been hurt. Sexual abuse almost always make a person eligible for a U-visa, because it cause both physical and mental harm. It does not matter whether you were hurt by a single act, r by many acts over time, such as domestic violence.
Consider the following injuries:
- did you have pain?
- are you still injured?
- if you were already sick, di the crime make it worse?
- di it affect how you look?
- did you have to miss work?
- did you go to the doctor?
- did you have to take medicine?
- were you anxious or depressed?
- did you have to see a therapist?
- did you feel sad?
- did you have trouble eating or sleeping?
If you answer YES to any of these questions, you may have been injured for U-visa.
What are examples of crimes for U-visa?
- If you were ever a victim of robbery ( felonious assault) and either you were hurt or the robber has the weapon the chances are good.
- If someone tried to hurt you (attempt) but your family/friend saved you before you could get hurt.
- IF your spouse used to hit you and beat you all all the time (domestic violence) but you never told anyone or just for used to it thing it is part of the relationship.
- if you work at a gas station and a co-worker blackmailed you into giving him money may be because you are illegally here?
- If you used live with your boyfriend and he punched you in the face once because he got jealous.
Green card for Victims for victims of crimes through U visa is available to those who cooperate with the investigation or prosecution of such criminal activities, suffer harm, and receive government certification for such cooperation. Filing a U-visa, which starts the green card process could be complex and may require the assistance of an immigration attorney. Rijal Law Firm can assist you in filing a U-visa petition.