A U nonimmigrant visa (U-visa) allows victims who have suffered physical or mental abuse to legally live in the United States while assisting law enforcement in the investigation of the crimes. This visa was created with the idea that victims of crimes in the United States would provide law enforcement or government officials with helpful information in prosecuting criminal offenders.
Who is eligible? You may be eligible if:
- You are a victim of a crime that violates U.S. law
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
- You have useful information about this crime that a counselor or social worker can support
- You are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- The crime occurred in the U.S. Bystander victims may be also eligible to apply.
- You are admissible to the U.S.
What are Qualifying Criminal Activities?
- -Abusive Sexual Contact
- -Slave Trade
- -Sexual Assault
- -False Imprisonment
- -Domestic Violence
- -Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- -Witness Tampering
- -Obstruction of Justice
***This list includes attempts, conspiracy, and solicitation to commit these crimes
Advantages of a U-visa:
- You may legally live in the U.S. for four (4) years. After three (3) years, you may apply for a green card to permanently stay in the U.S.
- Family may also be allowed to accompany you.
- As a U-visa holder, you may work in the U.S.
What supporting documents do I need?
In addition to the appropriate forms, supporting documents will be necessary in applying for the U visa. A personal narrative statement, thoroughly explaining and describing how you are a victim and how this crime has impacted you. You may describe the situations before the crime and after the crime (how you reported to the authorities and any of your injuries). You must provide evidence that you suffered through a qualifying criminal activity. This includes, but is not limited to, news reports, transcripts, police reports, affidavits, and restraining orders. There must be evidence that you have useful information about the criminal activity that can be supplied to law enforcement as aid to the investigation. You must show evidence that this crime violates U.S. federal law. Also, you must provide evidence that you suffered physical or mental abuse. This includes documents from counseling, documents from a physician, a social worker case, photographs of your injury, and affidavits from people who have personal knowledge of the crime.