Contact us today for more information about acquiring a U Nonimmigrant Visa, or anything else that might be of concern regarding your current status.

The U nonimmigrant visa was created by Congress in alignment with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act which was established in October of 2010. Initiated as a reaction to the number of reports of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other forms of violent crimes, the U nonimmigrant visa allows victims to remain protected in the United States while law enforcement officers work toward prosecuting the criminal cases that led to harm.

The intent behind the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, as well as the U nonimmigrant visa, is to systematically strengthen law enforcement agencies in their abilities to investigate and prosecute all types of crimes of violence that have caused harm to a nonimmigrant in the U.S. As such, individuals who show signs of severe mental and / or physical abuse from the violent crime that was committed against them can be permitted to remain in the U.S. under nonimmigrant status if they agree to help law enforcement authorities in their efforts to prosecute the criminal activity.

Violent Criminal Activities: What’s included?

Given the fact that victims of violent crimes can remain in the U.S. specifically because of their victimization, a common question heard by our New York immigration lawyers concerns clarifying which crimes fall under the umbrella of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Accordingly, below you will find a list of all qualifying criminal activities, of which any victim can seek protection under a U nonimmigrant status visa.

Eligibility for U Nonimmigrant Status

As detailed above, U nonimmigrant visas are not applicable to everyone. In fact, this is one of the more limiting forms of a visa because it is only provided to victims of violence. To better help you understand whether or not your situation qualifies you for a U nonimmigrant visa, review the following conditions:

  • You were victimized by one of the criminal activities listed above
  • You have knowledge about a criminal activity that is currently under investigation by a law enforcement agency
  • You are suffering from a substantial physical and / or mental injury because of your victimization
  • The crime was committed in the United States or it specifically violated a U.S. law
  • Your knowledge about the crime could prove to be helpful to the law enforcement agency that is conducting an investigation of the crime
  • You are currently admissible to the U.S. (if not, you can apply for a waiver using the Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant)
  • If your circumstances qualify you for this type of visa (as described above) then you can petition for a U nonimmigrant status by completing the Form I-918 and the Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. The supplemental portion of this form is where the law enforcement officer will confirm that you are, or could be, helpful in the prosecution of the criminal case. Additionally, you will be required to submit a personal statement that describes the criminal activity that victimized you, and you will be asked to provide evidence that can be used to confirm your eligibility according to each requirement.

    Petitioning for Eligible Family Members Under the U Visa

    As U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) values the importance of keeping families together, foreign nationals who are applying for a U nonimmigrant visa – or individuals who may already have a valid U nonimmigrant visa – may be able to include certain eligible family members on their petition. In order to file a petition on behalf of a family member, applicants must complete and submit Form I-918 Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient. A separate Supplement A form must be completed and filed for each eligible family member. You may petition for family members at the same time you apply for a U nonimmigrant visa or after you have already obtained the visa. Depending on your age, USCIS will permit petitions for the following family members:

  • Under age 21 – You may petition for your spouse, children under the age of 21, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18.
  • Over the age of 21 – You may petition only for your spouse and children under the age of 21.
  • When petitions are filed for family members overseas, they must have a valid visa issued to them by a U.S. embassy or consulate. Children under the age of 21 must also enter the U.S. before they turn 21. Siblings who you petition for may be over the age of 18 when issued a visa so long as they were under the age of 18 when you filed their petition. These forms must be submitted directly to the USCIS Vermont Service Center, no matter where applicants are located. While petitions are pending, you will be required to provide a USCIS office with your fingerprints, proof of relationship, and other qualifying documentation. Our legal team can assist you with understanding and fulfilling the family member petition requirements in your particular case.

    Contact a New York City Immigration Lawyer

    No matter what type of immigration issue you are facing, we urge you to speak with a member of the Pozo Goldstein, LLP team. In doing so, you will be paired with a firm that is comprised of former U.S. immigration prosecutors as well as former judge. With more than 90 years of combined experience on our side, we feel confident in our knowledge of the law, particularly as it pertains to all matters of immigration. You can contact us today for more information about U nonimmigrant visas or anything else that might be of concern regarding your current status.