The U-Visa - Legal Permanent Residency After Being a Victim of a Crime

What is the U-Visa? 

The U nonimmigrant status (U-Visa) is for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This was implemented as a tool to aid law enforcement in identifying perpetrators and aiding victims. The main objective of the visa is to encourage undocumented victims of crimes to assist law enforcement in their investigation and prosecution of crimes without fear of deportation. The U-Visa grants a temporary 4 year stay for holders with some holders eventually qualifying for lawful permanent residency, and then Citizenship. 

U Nonimmigrant Eligibility Requirements 

To be eligible to apply for a U Visa, you must demonstrate: 

  • You are the victim of a qualifying criminal activity.

  • You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of having been a victim of criminal activity. 

  • You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friends may possess the information about the crime on your behalf. 

  • You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf. 

  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws. 

  • You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a I-912 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant). 

Qualifying Criminal Activities 

  • Abduction 

  • Abusive Sexual Contact 

  • Blackmail 

  • Domestic Violence 

  • Extortion 

  • False Imprisonment 

  • Female Genital Mutilation 

  • Felonious Assault 

  • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting 

  • Hostage 

  • Incest 

  • Involuntary Servitude 

  • Kidnapping 

  • Manslaughter 

  • Murder 

  • Obstruction of Justice 

  • Peonage 

  • Perjury 

  • Prostitution 

  • Rape 

  • Sexual Assault

  • Sexual Exploitation 

  • Slave Trade 

  • Stalking 

  • Torture 

  • Trafficking 

  • Witness Tampering 

  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint 

  • Other Related crimes*


How do I Apply for the U-Visa?

To apply (petition) for a U nonimmigrant status, submit:

  1. Form I-918, (Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status) 

  2. Form I-918, (Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification)

  3. The Form I-918, Supplement B, must be signed by an authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency, and the official must confirm that you were helpful, and currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the investigation or prosecution case. 

  4. If any inadmissibility issues are present, the applicant must file a Form I-912, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, to request a waiver of inadmissibility.

  5. A personal statement describing the criminal activity of which you were a victim; and 

  6. Evidence to establish eligibility requirement. 

Are There Fees for These Forms? 

All U nonimmigrant status applications are free but may be subject to a $160 filing fee. Again, you may request a fee waiver for any other form that is necessary for your U nonimmigrant status application (petition) by filing a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by including your own written request for a fee waiver with your application or petition. 


Do I Need to Speak English to Undergo This Process? 


No, you do not need to be able to speak English, but having a translator who is proficient in English as well as your language would be of great help for communication in regards to your petition and the court in this process. 


What are the Benefits of the U-Visa? 


The U-Visa grants recipient’s lawful temporary status in the United States for 4 years and work authorization. A U-Visa may be extended if certified by law enforcement if it is required for the U-Visa holder’s continued assistance in the investigation or prosecution, or due to exceptional circumstances. Some U-Visa holder’s will quality for Lawful Permanent Residence status (Green Card) and eventual citizenship. 


If you believe you may qualify for the U-Visa, please contact us for assistance.

*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; A Better Future Legal Services does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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