The U visa can be requested by foreign nationals who have been victims of serious crimes in the United States.
The U Visa is a nonimmigrant status, designed for victims of certain crimes in the United States, related to physical or mental abuse. This visa was created in October 200 by Congress, through the Law for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Persons and Violence.
The purpose of said legislation was to strengthen the capacity of public agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse, alien smuggling, and other crimes. Likewise, it protects victims who have suffered mental or physical abuse through these types of crimes, and who are willing to help the authorities to investigate and prosecute criminal activity.
The visa to obtain U nonimmigrant status, or U visa, has multiple eligibility criteria:
- You are the victim of a qualifying criminal act
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being the victim of a criminal act
- Has information about criminal activity
- In the case of minors under 16, they can go to their parents, guardian or legal representative to report details about the crime on their behalf
- Help with the criminal investigation or prosecution of the crime
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated the laws of the country
- You are eligible to be admitted to the United States
- Ineligible individuals may apply for a waiver through the Form I-192, Application for Advance Parole for Entry as a Nonimmigrant.
Victims of crimes such as assault with a weapon, sexual assault, extortion, kidnapping, domestic violence, human trafficking, forced labor, among others, can apply for a U visa by filling out the Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.
Similarly, it is necessary to make a personal statement describing the criminal activity of which you were a victim and also gather evidence that establishes the eligibility criteria for the visa.
The immigration lawyer, Alma Rosa Nieto, explains a series of recommendations to apply for this visa. In the first place, she explains that the U visa now also grants a work permit, a situation that did not occur in all cases in previous years, so it is a long process and recommends that victims of crimes who seek this visa.
On the other hand, the lawyer mentions that an application for this visa must have strong bases, with evidence to be successful in its approval. That is, the request must be made taking care of all the details of the eligibility criteria and the types of crimes considered by the authorities. This requires the experience of an immigration attorney to prepare all the evidence.
Some applications may not be considered "good faith," such as those that do not meet the criteria for victims of crime, or that are not well documented enough to be approved by immigration authorities.
Learn more about this visa: https://www.uscis.gov/es/programas-humanitarios/victimas-de-la-trata-de-personas-y-de-otros-crimenes/victimas-de-actos-criminales-estatus-u-de-no-inmigrante