When an illegal immigrant is a victim of a serious crime within the country, they are usually afraid to go to law enforcement to assist them in solving the crime. In the event of this, the United States offers a type of visa for victims of a crime that wish to hold the perpetrator responsible.
What is a U-Visa?
A “U-Visa” is available for victims of a crime and their immediate family members who become seriously injured, mentally or physically, as a result of the crime. It allows them to help law enforcement and government officials with an investigation of the crime they were involved in. This is done so that they may be of help assisting with the arrest of a guilty party without worrying about their future within the country. The U-Visa extends to those who are involved in cases regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
There is a limit to 10,000 U-Visas to be issued every year. Despite this, there is no limit for family members. This includes spouses, children, or other eligible family members. Individuals who maintain a U-Visa after three years of living in the United States are allowed to apply for Permanent Residence status.
Am I Eligible?
There are six requirements that an individual must meet in order to apply for a U-Visa:
- Must have been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity
- Must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
- Must be willing to provide information regarding the crime
- Must assist in the investigation
- The crime must have occurred in the United States or violated the country’s laws
- The applicant is admissible to the United States under current law
Crimes that Qualify
As stated above, an applicant must be a victim of a qualifying criminal activity in order to apply for the visa. Crimes that qualify for the U-Visa may include:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual Assault
- Human trafficking
- Female genital mutilation
Making Changes to the Visa
A U-Visa is issued to an individual for four years. There are some cases that allow for the visa to be extended. This may be:
- If it is requested by law enforcement
- If needed for exceptional circumstances
- If needed because of delays in consular processing
- If it is automatically extended while filing for an adjustment of status
When an individual maintains U-Visa status for three years, they become eligible to change their status within the country. An Adjustment of Status allows individuals with a visa to apply for Permanent Resident status in the United States. When the individual is eligible, there are a number of things that must be submitted in order to be considered for the adjustment. This can include:
- Evidence of the U-Visa approval
- A medical examination and vaccination record
- Birth certificate
- Copies of all passports
- An affidavit attesting to three years of continuous physical presence in the country since being admitted the U-Visa
- Evidence that proves at least three years of the continuous presence
Contact our Firm
If you or someone you know is looking to apply for a U-Visa, contact Sesini Law Group, S.C. today.
John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.