U Visas — Protection for People That Have Been Victims of a Crime
The U Visa is an immigration visa set aside for people that have been victims of a crime. The U nonimmigrant status is the category given to people that have been victimized and suffered certain crimes including mental or physical abuse and might be of help to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of illegal activity. Individuals who qualify for the U Visa may subsequently apply for a Green Card or residency status. If you require guidance or assistance, then The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC is here to help.
What is a U Visa
In 2000, Congress passed a bipartisan bill called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The bill was meant to combat what seemed to be a growing issue of human trafficking in the United States and across the world. Included in that bill was the U nonimmigrant visa that would offer protection to victims of certain crimes and would also aid law enforcement in the investigation of such activities. This immigration visa helps people that have suffered substantial damage and harm under the hands of criminals. Victims of such crimes can later apply for a Green Card in order to remain in the United States.
U Visas Eligibility Requirements — Who Can Apply?
In order to qualify for the U Visa, you must meet certain requirements. Eligibility is determined on the basis of meeting these conditions:
- You have been a victim of criminal activity named under this Act
- You have incurred or suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of such criminal activity
- You have information about this activity that might aid in an investigation.
- The crime in question happened in the United States and broke U.S law
- You are otherwise admissible to the United States
An individual may also apply for the U Visa if they are outside of the United States and meet certain requirements. People outside the country that wish to apply for this protection must file through a slightly different process. This entails:
- Filing necessary forms for U nonimmigrant status with the Vermont Service Center
- Having biometrics done at a nearby U.S consulate or embassy
- Go through the consular process to enter the United States and go through an interview process with a consular officer
Benefits of Choosing Us
There is a cap set by the U.S government on U Visas every fiscal year. The country allows only 10,000 applications. After this number is reached, a waiting list is created for eligible applicants. As experienced immigration attorneys, Anable and Rivera have helped dozens of people obtain protection after being victimized of a crime. We support our clients and ensure that their case is being given the attention it deserves. If you have been a victim, we want you to feel safe and protected with the proper legal representation.
Wait Time and Process
The wait time and process for U Visas may vary based on your particular circumstances. Generally, the process can take up to four and a half years for USCIS to process an application for a U Visa. This is just an estimate and the processing time may vary depending on your particular case, where you filed from, and other factors. If you’re looking to apply for this visa, having an immigration attorney work with you can be beneficial in ensuring the process doesn’t run into unnecessary delays.
How Long is U Visa Status Good For?
A U nonimmigrant status visa is good for four years once it is granted. An extension to a U Visa may be granted under certain circumstances. This includes situations like:
- Law enforcement requires the help of the individual for an investigation or prosecution
- There are exceptional circumstances and needed basis
- There were consular processing delays
- Extended due to the filing of an adjustment of status (application of a Green Card)
Call Our Offices Today to Help You Apply
If you have been a victim of a crime, we want you to know that The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC is here for you. Our passion is helping people establish legal status in the United States so they can live free and make a life of their own. Apply for protection. Call us today.