Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status
U VISAVictims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside 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. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes. U Nonimmigrant Eligibility You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if: You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity. You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity. You have information about the criminal activity. You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. 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.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and you are a spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (the abuser) you may be able to obtain permanent residence through a statute referred to as “VAWA” – based on the Violence Against Women Act. A U visa is a temporary visa for victims of domestic violence and other qualifying crimes and can also eventually lead to permanent residence. If you are a victim of domestic violence and are not related to the perpetrator or the perpetrator is also not a permanent resident/U.S. citizen, you may qualify for this type of visa.