As the victim of a crime, if you suffered mental or physical abuse and were helpful to law enforcement while they were investigating or prosecuting this criminal activity, you might be eligible for U nonimmigrant status. Often simply called a U visa, this status was created to protect victims of criminal activity who were willing to aid law enforcement or government officials as they fought to hold the criminals accountable for their crimes.
While every situation is different, the USCIS notes six requirements through which you might be eligible for the U visa:
- Were you the victim of qualifying criminal activity?
- Did you suffer substantial physical or mental abuse as a victim of the criminal activity?
- Do you have information about the criminal activity?
- Did you help law enforcement officers or government officials in the investigation or the prosecution of the criminal activity?
- Did the crime occur in the United States or violate U.S. laws?
- Are you admissible to the United States?
The U visa is a temporary status change that typically lasts for four years. Individuals are permitted to live and work in the United States if they cooperate with law enforcement and government officials investigating the crime or prosecuting people charged with the criminal activity. In certain situations, family members could be included in the U visa petition.
The U visa application process can be complex, requiring many documents and deadlines. It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can answer your questions and provide advice from start to finish in the process.