Unfortunately, everyday people in the United States become victims of crimes and when someone is here in an undocumented status it is sometimes scary to go to law enforcement to report a crime. The government has recognized this dilemma and therefore created the U visa. The U visa was created to protect those undocumented victims of crimes who assisted law enforcement with the prosecution of the crime.
There are several requirements to be eligible for the U visa. First, the U visa is only for people who have been the victim of certain qualifying crimes. These crimes include Abusive Sexual Contact, Domestic Violence, Assault, Stalking, Rape, Sexual Assault, Incest, Kidnapping, and Stalking among other crimes. Second, the U visa requires that you contacted law enforcement and were helpful in the prosecution of the crime by cooperating with all requests made by law enforcement officials. Finally, you must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of the criminal activities.
In order to obtain a U visa, you must obtain a certification from law enforcement certifying that you have been helpful in the prosecution of the crime. This could be a police department, the state’s attorney’s office, local prosecutors or even judges. Once you obtain the certification, you can apply for the U visa. The U visa filing requires that you show how you suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of the criminal activities.
The drawback to the U visa is that it is numerically limited meaning that only 10,000 visas can be issued each year and there is currently a backlog of 64,000 applications. This means that getting a U visa approved may take many years. However, once your U visa is approved you will receive work authorization and after three years may be able to file from a green card. The U visa has been a very helpful tool in helping the immigrant community overcome the fear of going to the police due to being a victim of a crime.
At Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. we are experienced in obtaining U visas for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to see if you may qualify for a U visa.