Skip to main content

U Visa for Victims of Crime

Posted by attorney Gintare Grigaite

U nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to crime victims of qualifying criminal activity who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The U visa allows victims to remain in the United States and provides temporary immigration benefits to victims as well as their qualifying family members, including ability to obtain employment authorization.

The U visa is a self-petitioning application, and does not require a sponsor. However, unlike a T nonimmigrant visa, the U visa applicant requires a Law Enforcement Certification on Form I-918 Supplement B, and reasonable cooperation with the law enforcement. If granted U nonimmigrant visa status, a victim can ultimately adjust status in the United States, to become a lawful permanent resident.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a U visa, a victim must:

  • Be a victim of qualifying criminal activity and suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.

  • Possess information about the qualifying criminal activity.

  • Have been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to the investigation and/or prosecution of that qualifying criminal activity.

- Be a victim of criminal activity that occurred in the U.S. or violated a U.S. law.

Qualifying Criminal Activity

Victims of the following crimes qualify for a U visa:

  • Abduction
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Felonious Assault
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Contact (abusive)
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Witness Tampering

Please note, attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these crimes, as well as crimes not listed above, but that are "substantially similar" to the above crimes, also fall under the required qualifying criminal activity.

Additional resources provided by the author

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?