U Visa: Relief for Non-Immigrants

February 22, 2016

If you are undocumented, have been the victim of a serious crime in the U.S., and cooperated with law enforcement to investigate the crime, you may be eligible for the U visa. U visas help support undocumented communities to feel secure in making contact with law enforcement and help in the process of keeping communities safer. U visas also provide a rare opportunity for people who are not eligible for other types of immigration status to gain legal status. 

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What is a U Visa?

The U visa provides temporary relief for eligible non-immigrants to live and work in the United States.  Three years after obtaining U visa status, eligible clients can apply for Legal Permanent Residency. 

Who can apply?

People who are victims of certain crimes – such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and false imprisonment, among others – are eligible to apply.  Certain family members of the crime victims, such as spouses and unmarried children who are 21 and younger, may also qualify.  If victims of crimes are under 21 when applying, then parents and unmarried siblings who are 18 and younger may also be eligible.

Basic requirements:

  • You or a member of your family was a victim of a violent crime or another eligible crime in the United States;
  • The victim helped law enforcement or another law enforcement agency in the investigation of the crime;
  • The law enforcement agency signs a certification confirming that the victim cooperated in the investigation of the crime; and
  • Proof that the victim suffered substantial physical or mental abuse resulting from the criminal activity.

Processing time:

The current time it takes to process a U visa application is about two years. More than 20,000 applications are filed annually. However, only around 10,000 U visas are approved each year by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

For more information:

If you think that you or someone you know may be eligible for a U visa, call SMRLS at 651-222-4731. 

You can also visit the USCIS website for additional information.

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