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U Visa – Victims of Criminal Activity

What is a U visa?

The U nonimmigrant status (U Visa) helps victims of certain crimes by offering protection. The U visa encourages undocumented victims of certain crimes to come forward and assist law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity in the United States. To apply for the U visa, you must have been the victim of a qualifying crime.

Below are some examples of qualifying crimes:

  • Domestic violence
  • Felonious Assault
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Sexual assault
  • Forced prostitution
  • Incest
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Trafficking
  • Peonage
  • Other Related Crimes

Applying for a U Visa

To be eligible to seek a U visa, the victim must demonstrate that they were, or are, helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.  The police department, prosecution, or judge must sign Form I-918 Supplement B, “U” Non-Immigrant Status Certification, attesting that the victim was helpful.

After you have the signed certification, you must submit Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, and appropriate documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can apply from within or outside the U.S. We strongly encourage you to seek assistance from an immigration attorney when completing and applying for a U visa to reduce the risk of your application being denied.

How long can I stay while on a U visa?

One of the benefits of the U visa is that it allows individuals to stay in the U.S. for four (4) years, with the option to apply for permanent residence (green card) after just three (3) years on a U visa.

Can I bring my family while on U status?

Qualifying family members are also eligible for U visa benefits. Depending on the age of the principal petitioner, the following shows who is eligible for a derivative U visa.

Petitioner Under 21 years of age:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Unmarried siblings under 18 years of age

Petitioner 21 years of age or older:

  • Spouse
  • Children

For more information about the U visa, give us a call at 214-251-8011 (Dallas, TX) or 817-332-1100 (Fort Worth, TX), or schedule your next appointment online here.