U-Visas and You

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What is a U Visa?

The various visa titles refer to specific types of applications for which an individual may apply. The U visa is a visa for individuals who are victims of certain crimes. The applicant who was victimized must have experienced substantial physical or mental harm as a result of the crime. The visa applicant must be willing to assist law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the relevant crimes.

In order to qualify for a U Visa, the applicant must obtain certification from law enforcement that he or she was helpful in investigating or prosecuting a qualifying crime, such as abduction, human trafficking, kidnapping, sexual assault, or extortion. The crime must have occurred within the United States.

If the applicant is under 16 or is disabled and unable to provide pertinent information, then a guardian or parent may present the information to law enforcement on the applicant’s behalf. The applicant must otherwise be admissible to the United States. The applicant may be able to file a U visa application though if the applicant files other necessary paperwork.

How Many People are Eligible?

Every year, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorizes a set number of visa applicants to apply for the visas. Under current law, the USCIS is authorized to permit up to 10,000 individuals to be approved for U visas. For fiscal year 2016, the USCIS has authorized 10,000 applicants for the program.

What if I am on a Waiting List?

If you have been notified by USCIS that you are eligible for the U visa program, but have not been approved for the visa because the cap of 10,000 was reached already, you must continue to meet the various eligibility requirements to remain on a wait list. Once more spaces open up, you may then be able to move off of the wait list and move forward in the visa application and approval process.

What About Family Members?

If you are eligible for a U Visa, certain family members may also be eligible to live and work in the United States. The following people may be eligible:

  • Children who are under the age of 21,

  • Spouses of applicants,

  • Unmarried siblings under 18, if the recipient is under 21, or

  • Parents of a U visa recipient.

U visa applicants may be eligible for permanent residence. Please contact an experienced attorney to discuss eligibility.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney at JRQ & Associates Now

The immigration system can be very complicated if you are not used to dealing with the intricacies of the law. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a serious crime and believe you may be eligible for a U visa, please consider consulting an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates. Contact us today at 312.561.5062 for a free immigration consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.

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