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  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: January 3, 2020
A man in handcuffs sitting at a desk - Serving Immigrants

If you were the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for a U visa, which would provide you temporary nonimmigrant status in the United States. The U visa was created among growing public safety concerns and to encourage individuals who have been crime victims to cooperate with law enforcement in prosecuting criminals. If you are approved for a U visa, you will be given legal status in the U.S. with the potential for extensions. Once you have your U visa for three years, you may be able to apply for a green card.

To obtain a U visa, it is not enough to simply state that you were the victim of a crime. You must provide a “certificate of helpfulness” from a government agency and show that you suffered mental or physical abuse by a U.S. perpetrator.

U Visa Eligibility

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a U visa:

  • You must be the victim of “qualified criminal activity” that occurred in the U.S. or in violation of U.S. law.
  • In the course of this criminal activity, you must have suffered substantial physical or mental harm.
  • You have useful information about this criminal activity
  • You have been or will be helpful to law enforcement in bringing the perpetrator of the crime to justice.
  • You are admissible to the United States.

Qualifying Criminal Activity

Typically, an applicant for a U visa has been a victim of a crime in the United States. However, sometimes, the crime violated U.S. laws but took place overseas. For example, trafficking and kidnapping may constitute qualifying crimes. Examples of other qualifying crimes include:

  • Violent crimes—murder, manslaughter, felonious assault, robbery, domestic violence, and stalking
  • Enslavement crimes—kidnapping, forced labor, human trafficking, and false imprisonment
  • Sexual crimes—rape, sexual trafficking, sexual exploitation, prostitution, and sexual assault
  • Obstruction of justice crimes—perjury, witness tampering, and withholding evidence

The crime does not have to be “completed” in order for it to qualify. For example, if you are the victim of attempted murder, you may qualify for a U visa.

Substantial Physical Or Mental Abuse

Being the victim of a qualifying crime is not enough. You must also demonstrate that, as a result of the crime, you sustained substantial physical or mental abuse. Medical records and affidavits can be used to support your claim. You should also provide a personal statement detailing the harm you have suffered.

Contact A Trusted Immigration Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of a crime and want to explore your immigration options, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have experience helping crime victims obtain visas, and we would like to help you. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.

Call Us To Get Your Case Reviewed - Serving Immigrants

Attorney Magdalena Cuprys is a seasoned immigration lawyer based in Orlando and Coral Gables, Florida. With three languages under her belt and years of legal experience working with immigrants of all kinds, she brings considerable experience and insight to the field and works hard to explain immigration concepts, empower future citizens, and keep current and prospective immigrants up to date on US immigration law.

Connect with her firm, Serving Immigrants, to stay updated on the latest developments in United States immigration law and gain valuable insights needed to navigate the challenging legal landscape of immigration in Florida. Call Us Now To Get Your Case Reviewed (305) 907-6151

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