Immigrating to the United States can be incredibly difficult, and even those who ultimately make it here may do so without having legal status. Gaining and retaining legal status is often even more complex.
For those who have been victims of certain criminal activities, the U visa may be one avenue for gaining legal status within the United States. At the office of the Illinois Immigration Law Group, our experienced immigration lawyers can assist you with seeking legal status if you’ve been the victim of a crime. Please call our law firm today to learn more about how we can help.
What Is the U Visa?
As explained by the National Immigration Law Center, the purpose of the U visa, which was created in 2000 under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, is to both afford protections for those who are willing to speak out about crimes and encourage immigrants who are living in the United States to report crimes to law enforcement.
What Are the Benefits Provided by the U Visa?
If a person is granted a U visa, they can benefit by receiving lawful status in the United States for up to four years, as well as potential eligibility to adjust their status to permanent resident status after three years. The U visa also provides work authorization status in the U.S. and provides work authorization and legal status for certain qualifying family members, too.
Who’s Eligible for a U Visa?
There are four primary factors that will make a person eligible for a U visa:
- The petitioner has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a victim of criminal activity;
- The criminal activity was in violation of local, state, or federal law;
- The petitioner has information about the criminal activity; and
- The petitioner is willing to cooperate and provide information in regards to the investigation or the prosecution of the crime.
Note that the crime must have occurred within the United States in order to qualify. However, you can apply for a U visa while you are outside of the United States.
The Process of Applying for a U Visa
A person who has been a victim of a crime within the United States and who does not already have legal status may be very nervous to talk to law enforcement officers eligibility for this visa is supposed to help encourage reporting. If you are unsure what to do, you should speak to an experienced immigration attorney immediately. An attorney can help you to report the crime, seek support and protection, and begin the process of filing a Petition for U Non immigrant Status.
Call the Illinois Immigration Law Group Today
Seeking any type of visa can be complicated, and seeking a U visa has certain requirements and provisions. At the office of the Illinois Immigration Law Group, we want to make sure that as a victim of a crime, you are protected. To learn more about Non immigrant visas and how our law firm can assist you, please call us today or send us a message at your convenience. We are here to offer legal support and guidance.