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U Visas for Victims of Crime FAQs
1. Do I have to be in status or have entered legally if I want to apply for a U Visa?
No, the U Visa
is available regardless of your legal status or how you entered the Unites States.
2. Is any type of crime eligible for a U Visa?
Not every crime is eligible for a U Visa.The Immigration Service (USCIS) has a specific list of crimes that qualify for U Visa,
however, the USCIS will generally give benefits to victims of crimes that either directly or indirectly involve some form of violence. Some of the crimes that qualify are: domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, obstruction of justice or witness tampering, kidnapping, extortion, felonious assault, and the solicitation to commit any of these crimes, among others.
3. Should the victim cooperate with the Government to be eligible for a U Visa?
Yes. One of the requirements of eligibility for a U Visa is that the victim must demonstrate that he/she provided information to the law enforcement agency or the court which is investigating the crime or that the assistance was not unreasonably withheld.
4. If the Government does not want to proceed with the criminal case, can the victim still apply for a U Visa?
The government does not have to initiate, proceed with or complete a criminal case in order for a victim to be able to apply for a U Visa.
5. Do the family members of the victim obtain any immigration benefit from the U Visa?
Yes, the immediate relatives of the victim, (spouse, parents and children) might obtain the same benefits as the victim and be allowed them to live, work and study legally in the US.
If the family members are outside of the United States they may be able to obtain permission to enter the U.S. under a U Visa status.
6. Must the victim provide records of the injuries suffered?
Yes, the victim has to provide medical records which demonstrate that he/she has received treatment as a result of the physical and/or psychological suffering from the crime that he/she has been victim.
7. If the perpetrator is not an American citizen or a Permanent Resident, can the victim still apply for a U Visa?
Yes. Unlike the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
that only provides immigration benefits to the spouse or child who are victims of domestic violence perpetrated by a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, and to the parents who are victims of domestic violence by an American Citizen, the U Visa
provides immigration benefits to the victims of crime regardless the immigration status of the perpetrator of the crime.
8. Can you apply for Permanent Residency once the U Visa is granted?
9. How long does a U Visa last?
The U Visa expires after 4 years but it might be extended for a limited period of time.
10. Can I travel outside of the US after the U Visa is granted?
Yes, you can travel outside of the United States but in order to re-enter in US you will need to get the U visa stamped on your passport at the US Consulate or Embassy of the country that you travelled to.
The information contained here is general in nature and it may not necessarily apply to all situations. It is also subject to change at any point in time. Therefore, under no circumstance it should be construed as legal advice. Please ensure that you consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation before starting a legal process.
For more information about immigration alternatives and legal processes, call our office at: (617) 303-2600 (ext. 0) for an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers in Boston, MA.