U-1 Visa

U-1 Victims of Crime Visa

Those who have been the victim of certain crimes here in the United States, may qualify for a special visa, known as a U visa, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. lawfully. Those who qualify for the U visa, may be issued a visa for up to four (4) years, and under certain circumstances, they may qualify for lawful permanent residency after three (3) years.

In order to qualify for a U visa, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • S/he is a victim of a qualifying crime;
  • S/he has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of that crime;
  • S/he possesses information concerning that crime or if s/he is under the age of 16, his/her parent, guardian, or next friend possesses such information;
  • S/he has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime or if under age 16 his/her parent, guardian, or next friend have been helpful; and
  • The criminal activity occurred here in the U.S. or was in violation of the laws of the United States or its territories;

Individuals may qualify for a U visa if they have been the victim of one of the following or any similar crimes:

a. Rape
b. Torture
c. Trafficking
d. Incest
e. Domestic Violence
f. Sexual Assault or Abusive Sexual Contact
g. Prostitution or Sexual Exploitation
h. Female Genital Mutilation
i. Being held hostage or kidnapping
j. Criminal restraint or false imprisonment
k. Peonage or slave trade
l. Extortion or blackmail
m. Manslaughter or murder (the qualifying victim would be the surviving spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21 of the actual victim if not involved in the crime)
n. Felonious assault
o. Witness tampering or obstruction of justice
p. Perjury
q. Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes

In order to qualify for a U visa, applicants are required to obtain a certification from a law enforcement official authorized to sign such certifications stating that the applicant has been a victim of the crime and has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution.

For those over the age of 21 who qualify for a U visa, their spouse and unmarried children under 21 may also qualify if they have not participated in the crime committed.

If a minor victim under the age of 21, the spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18 years of age on the date of application may also qualify.

If approved for a U visa, individuals may later qualify to apply for a green card. In order to qualify for a green card, an applicant will need to demonstrate the following:

  • They were approved for a U visa;
  • They continue to hold U nonimmigrant status at the time of the application;
  • They have been continuously present in the United States for a period of three (3) years since being granted U nonimmigrant status; and
  • They have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to a law enforcement agency in an investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity after the grant U nonimmigrant status

For additional information on applying for a U visa, please contact our office.