U VISA 101
Are you in the U.S. as a victim of a serious violent, enslavement, sexual, fraud, or obstruction of justice crime? If so you may qualify for a U visa. However, there’s quite a few items you’ll need to assemble for your U visa petition. Let’s look at who this visa is for, what it entails, and the checklist of items you’ll need to submit to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before it can be issued The U visa is one of two new visas added by The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. It’s specifically for immigrant victims of serious crimes, and it allows such foreign victims to remain in the U.S. so that they can offer helpful information to law enforcement in the apprehension and prosecution of their criminal offenders.
Approval for a U visa allows the holder legal status in the U.S. for up to four years, but this length of time can be extended for certain circumstances. An immigration visa lawyer Los Angeles can also help U visa holders apply for permanent residence with a green card after the U visa has been held for three years.
For U Visa approval, there’s a number of eligibility requirements, including the type of criminal activity, information, and harm that was involved. For example, you will need to submit a “certificate of helpfulness” from a qualifying government agency. You’ll also need to prove that you suffered significant physical and/or mental abuse by an American perpetrator. Contact your U visa attorney Los Angeles for help determining if you meet the eligibility requirements for the U visa.
Application Checklist For Nonimmigrant U Status/Visa
Once you’ve established that you’re indeed eligible for a U visa or status,
you’ll have a lot of items to collect and submit for approval to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A visa attorney for victims of crimes in Los Angeles can help you through the process if you have any difficulties.
This handy checklist will help ensure you don’t forget any necessary documents.
- The USCIS Form I-918 is a free download available on their website. You’ll need to complete this form in its entirety. Blank fields will result in rejection. This is your petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.
- If applying for derivative status for qualifying family members, such as a spouse or child, you will also need to complete Supplement A (Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient) of the USCIS Form I-918.
- In the case of derivative family member applications, you’ll need to have proof, such as marriage certificates and birth certificates, that relationships are qualifying and legitimate. If such documents are in a foreign language, work with your U visa attorney Los Angeles to obtain a complete, accurate, and certified translation document in English to avoid any delays or misinterpretations.
- Supplement B of the USCIS Form I-918 must be completed. This certifies that you’re the victim of a qualifying criminal activity and have helpful information in the investigation or prosecution of that activity. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses the form’s info to either grant or deny status certification. This five-page form is crucial to the U visa process, and it’s always best to have a U visa attorney Los Angeles helping you complete it.
- You’ll need to create a personal narrative statement as a supporting document. This details the circumstances surrounding the criminal activity and your victimization within the criminal activity. Your immigration visa lawyer Los Angeles will help you construct this statement to show your innocence in the criminal act; your efforts to stop, report, or supply authorities with information concerning the criminal act; and the extent of the injuries you suffered because of the criminal act or perpetrator(s) of it.
- You’ll need to submit supporting evidence beyond just your statement that you’re the victim of a qualifying criminal act. Your immigration attorneys Los Angeles will help you collect supporting trial transcripts, police reports, affidavits, restraining orders, news sources, and so forth.
- You’ll need to submit supporting evidence beyond just your statement that you’ve suffered physical and/or mental abuse. Your visa attorney for victims of crimes in Los Angeles will help you collect witness statements; medical records; police reports; photographic evidence; and affidavits from physicians, social workers, and/or psychologists.
- While Form I-918, Supplement B offers evidence that you have helpful info concerning a criminal act that violated U.S. laws, you’ll want to include any supplemental documents further demonstrating your helpfulness to authorities and that the crime violated U.S. laws. The latter is particularly important for crimes that violated U.S. laws but occurred outside the U.S. Again, your immigration attorneys Los Angeles can help you determine what’s suitable for such supportive evidence.
- For those deemed inadmissible to the U.S. because of multiple criminal convictions, immigration violations, or certain medical conditions, you’ll need to complete a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, which legally forgives such grounds of inadmissibility. This is USCIS Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. Remember to honestly disclose all factors of inadmissibility and to include the form for any applicable derivative family member that’s inadmissible. You’ll also need a check or money order for the fee involved, which was $585 as of 2014. Your immigration visa lawyer Los Angeles can help you apply for a fee waiver if you can’t afford this amount.
- Of course, you’ll need the ability to support yourself once your U visa is approved. You’ll need to file your Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with the USCIS Form I-765. If your I-918 is approved, you, as the principal petitioner, will automatically be sent this form. Be aware there is an application fee. You also need to remember that any derivative family members will need to complete their own separate EAD applications.
Do You Need Help With Your U Visa?
It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by such a big checklist with so many items to be collected, sorted, and completed. You’ve been victimized by a crime of no fault of your own, and you now face this confusing process to obtain a U visa. The good news is that you have immigration attorneys Los Angeles to help ease and quicken the U visa application process.