Immigration and Criminal Defense Lawyer Desmond P. FitzGerald Talks about the U Visa for Victims of Crime
February 12th, 2015
Inmigración y usted
Inmigración y Usted: Órale con Verónica presents inmigración y usted with guest Boston lawyer Desmond P. Fitzgerald.
Desmond P. Fitzgerald (DPF): Thanks Veronica , I have some very important information for your audience about the “U” visa . The “U” visa was designed to benefit the victims of crime here in America, and in some circumstances for people who are outside the United States. All persons who are victims of criminal cases identified by the law, are eligible to receive the benefits of this visa.
There are several criminal cases that allow people to apply for this visa. The most common cases are cases of domestic violence, assault and sexual abuse. One benefit of this visa is that it is for all victims, whether they are here on a visa, have no status, or are people who came here without permission, all are eligible for the benefits of this visa if they are victims of a crime. If the government does not want to pursue ( or process ) the criminal case , it will not impact the ability to obtain benefits through this visa. The only thing that is important is that a government officer certifies that the person was willing to help the government throughout this process. People need to get enough evidence to show that they suffered from a criminal case. This visa offers benefits not only to the affected party, but also their children and in some situations parents and siblings can benefit through this visa.
The benefits of this visa are: eligibility to work and live in the United States, the ability to travel outside the United States and return, and after a while the person becomes eligible to apply for residency in the United States. Even if the person committing the error is illegal or does not have legal status, the victim remains eligible for these benefits. The visa lasts four years in the first stage and the government can renew it for another four years if necessary.
Eventually the person becomes an eligible candidate for residency. The time required to process a U visa is generally 9 months. If you are going through an abusive situation and have no legal status in the U.S., the U visa may offer some hope for you in the new year. Call us for a consultation, I am attorney Desmond P. Fitzgerald and wish you a happy new year.