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U Visas (Non-Immigrant)

What is a U-Visa?

To help victims of crimes, immigration law was changed in October 2000, when Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act). One of the provisions of the act provided U-visa immigration relief for those who had survived crimes and went on to help US authorities or the government by offering information or other assistance about the crimes.

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The non-immigrant U-visa status is available to survivors of certain crimes, including:

  • Sexual assault and sex crimes (including incest, prostitution-related crimes and female genital mutilation)
  • Human trafficking
  • Abduction, kidnapping and hostage situations
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic violence
  • Extortion
  • False imprisonment
  • Serious assault
  • Labor-related crimes (such as some types of contracting fraud and involuntary servitude)
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Perjury
  • Torture
  • Other serious crimes

You may be eligible to apply for a U-visa if you have survived one of these serious crimes, have suffered emotional or physical injury or abuse as a result of what has happened and have cooperated with authorities or may be useful to authorities in prosecuting or investigating the crime. To apply, the crime must have occurred in the United States or have violated US laws.

For child victims of criminal activity, visa qualifications are different. If underage survivors of crimes have information that could be useful to law enforcement, minors can relay this information through a guardian, parent, or other qualified adult.

How a U-Visa Immigration Lawyer Can Help

While you can file for a U-visa on your own by filing I-918, Supplement B, with all necessary paperwork to support the application, these cases tend to be sensitive. Working with a U-visa immigration attorney can help you strengthen your case. To be successful with your application, you need to be able to prove you were the victim of a crime and that you suffered physical or emotional abuse as a result of your situation. You must also show that you have information relevant to the crime which may be important to law enforcement. Proving all of this can be easier with a qualified immigration attorney.

An immigration attorney specializing in U-visa cases understands that situations resulting in an application can be delicate. Very often, applicants are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or other serious crimes. They may still be rebuilding their lives and require emotional as well as legal support. Survivors may also be afraid of retribution from their attackers. Qualified attorneys understand this and work hard to provide the level of support applicants need.

If you have been the victim of crime and believe you may qualify for a U-visa, we urge you to contact Morales & Sparks for a consultation. Our team of attorneys treat our clients as though they were our family. We believe everyone has the right to a brighter future, and we believe if you have the strength to survive a criminal act, we can support you as you search for a better life. Contact us today to find out whether you qualify for a U-visa or other protections under the law.

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