Visas for Victims of Crimes

Atlanta U Visa Attorneys (Form I-918)

Visas for Victims of Crimes

Victims of certain crimes committed inside the United States, who have suffered substantial mental, or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity may qualify to apply for U nonimmigrant status (U visa). This applies to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, felonious assault, human trafficking (see also T visa), false imprisonment, and other similar crimes.

There are four statutory eligibility requirements. The individual must:

  • Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity (defined by law);
  • Have information concerning that criminal activity;
  • Have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  • Be admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a Waiver.
    • This would apply if you have certain criminal convictions, entered the U.S. without authorization, have a prior deportation order, among other restrictions.

Benefits of a U Visa

If you qualify, the U Visa provides specific benefits for staying in the United States.

These benefits include:

  • Up to four years of lawful status
  • Authorization to work in the United States
  • Benefits for qualifying family members

You are also eligible to adjust your status to lawful permanent residence after three years.

Direct, Indirect, and Bystander Victims for U Visas

Direct victims are those who suffered “proximate” or direct harm as the result of a criminal activity. These are the most straightforward U Visa cases. However, bystanders and indirect victims can still qualify for a U Visa under certain circumstances.

A bystander can be considered a direct victim if they suffered severe harm as a result of witnessing a crime. The most common example of this is a woman who suffers a miscarriage due the stress of witnessing a crime.

Indirect victims are those who were affected by the death or incapacitation of the primary victim. Age is highly considered with this type of victimization.

  • Spouse and children under the age of 21 of the primary victim can be considered indirect victims if the primary victim was 21 or older at the time of the crime
  • Parents and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 of the primary victim can be considered indirect victims if the primary victim was younger than 21 at the time of the crime

How Long Does a U Visa Last?

If an individual is granted U status, they receive work authorization for four years. After three years of continuous presence in the United States in U status, the foreign national may be eligible to apply forAdjustment of Status and receive a green card. Five years after the green card is granted, Naturalization may be a possibility.

The experienced attorneys at Hope Immigration in Marietta are recognized throughout the United States for their experience in filing successful U applications. Let us help you and your family focus on healing instead of immigration matters. Call (678) 713-4255 today to schedule a consultation.