The U Visa: Immigrant Victims Of Crime
The U visa is a nonimmigrant status that allows non-citizen victims of crime to stay in the United States. The U visa allows the immigrant to obtain employment authorization, apply for lawful permanent resident status, and help some family members obtain immigrant status as well
(U Visa Manuel, April 2009).
To qualify for a U-visa the immigrant must meet the following five eligibility requirements:
1. The immigrant is a victim of qualifying criminal activity and as a result has experienced physical or mental abuse.
2. The immigrant possesses information regarding the criminal activity.
3. The immigrant has been, is currently being, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
4. A Federal, State or local law enforcement agency has certified the immigrant’s helpfulness to the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
5. The criminal activity violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States.
What Does it Mean to Be a Victim?
To be considered a victim the immigrant must have suffered direct harm as a result of criminal activity. Sometimes, family members can be considered victims of criminal activity as well. If the immigrant was a victim of murder or manslaughter or is incompetent or incapacitated then the following family members may qualify:
Children unmarried and under age 21
Parents, if the immigrant victim is under age 21
Siblings under the age 18, if the immigrant victim was under age 21
What is a qualifying criminal activity?
The immigrant must have been a victim of one of the following crimes:
Rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual 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 these crimes.
What certification do I need regarding my helpfulness to a criminal investigation?
To qualify for the U visa you must have a law enforcement agency fill out Form I-918 Supplement B describing your helpfulness to the investigation.
The certification can come from a Federal, State or local prosecutor or judge, a police officer, and sometimes Child Protective Services, the Department of Labor, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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