As the victim of a serious crime you may be eligible to apply for a U-Visa. The U visa applies to immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who are the victims of certain serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator. An immigrant granted a U Visa or I-360 Petition will subsequently be given legal status to reside and work in the United States. As a general matter, the immigrant must have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying crime, have useful information concerning the crime which occurred, and has helped, or is likely to help, in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, and the crime committed violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States.
The immigrant must first obtain a law enforcement certification before filing a Petition for U Non-immigrant Status (Form I-918). All U visas must be filed with Immigration at the Vermont Service Center. Immigrants who are victims of a qualifying crime, and their family members, can apply for a U visa either from outside the United States, as long as the qualifying crime was committed while the immigrant was in the United States. The immigrant and family members will file for the U visa with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the immigrant’s country.
A family member of a U visa applicant cannot apply for a U visa on his or her own behalf. However, the U visa applicant can file a petition on behalf of the family member if:
- the U visa applicant is less than 21 years of age the applicant can file for their spouse, children, unmarried siblings under 18 and parents
- the U visa applicant is 21 or older the applicant can file for their spouse and the applicant’s children
The applicant must file Form I-918, Supplement A, for their qualifying family members. U Visa status cannot exceed four years. After three years, an immigrant in U visa status can apply for adjustment of status (green card).
The Kurz Law Group is proud to offer each of the above services and more through our office. Clearly, these are just some of the issues posed by a non-citizen facing criminal charges and now placed in removal proceedings. If you have been arrested and are now subject to removal proceedings, we strongly urge you to contact our law firm to discuss your case and to provide you with the best legal options moving forward. Whether you now qualify for citizenship or will in the future, it is imperative that you be guided through this difficult process by an experienced and caring legal professional.