U Visa for Victims of Crime in the USA

News: Year 2015 U-Visa update. Click Here.

We are glad to announce that The Law Office of Natalia Malyshkina will be donating funds on a quarterly basis to the San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) organization. Click here for more information.

Annually, 10 000 nonimmigrant U visas are available for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

U Visa was created by an act of Congress in order to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes by offering protection to victims of such crimes in accordance with the humanitarian interests of the United States. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.

U.S. immigration authorities do not charge a fee for a petition to the U Visa.

A typical representative of the U Visa – is a woman or a man – a victim of domestic violence, robbery, sexual or other violent crime.

To be eligible for a U visa, the person must prove that:

1. The individual suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.

2. The individual has information concerning that criminal activity.

3. The individual was helpful, is helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

4. The criminal activity violated U.S. laws

In order to be able to apply for a visa U, a person must obtain a certificate that he was a victim of a particular crime, and that he had cooperated with the police or an investigator in the investigation of this crime. That means the victim must provide a U Nonimmigrant Status Certification (Form I-918, Supplement B), from a U.S. law enforcement agency that demonstrates the petitioner “has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful” in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Here is the list of crimes victims of which are eligible for a U Visa:

Abduction, Abusive Sexual Contact, Blackmail, Domestic Violence, Extortion, False Imprisonment, Genital Female Mutilation, Felonious Assault, Hostage, Incest, Involuntary Servitude, Kidnapping Manslaughter, Murder, Obstruction of Justice, Peonage, Perjury, Prostitution, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Slave Trader, Torture, Trafficking, Witness Tampering, Unlawful Criminal Restraint, Other Related Crimes

A person may be eligible for a U visa, even if it has no legal status in the United States.

People can petition for U visa from outside the US. If not admissible to enter the United States as a foreign national, an applicant for a U visa must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility.

Congress passed a law creating exceptions for immigrants under the category of “banned”, which gives them the right to apply for a visa U.

Family members of people applied for U visa can also get this visa.

After three years, the owners of U Visas have the right to request permanent resident status if:

1. He or she continuously physically present in the United States for at least three years from the date of receipt of U-visa
2. He or she did not refuse without a valid reason to help the law enforcement agencies is solving the underlying crime.
3. The continued presence of this person in the U.S. has humane reasons, such as a guarantee of preservation of the family or other reasons in the national interest, or for the benefit of the public.

Each year 10,000 U Visas (excluding relatives) are issued. If during the year of applying for U visa 10,000 visas are already issued, the person is put on a waiting list and, while waiting, the person is legally in the United States and has the right to work.

See U visa updates here (click here).

You can contact The Law Office of Natalia Malyshkina for more information.