Thomas Esparza & Jacqueline Watson Immigration Specialists-U visa for victims of domestic violence
This information is not meant to serve as legal advice, and is by no means a substitute for legal assistance. If you have a question about your immigration case, we recommend you to talk to an attorney or a BIA Accredited Representative at a recognized nonprofit agency.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Conditional Residence Status
- If you Leave, You Lose
- U-Visa: Immigration Status for Crime Victims
- Lawful Permanent Residence
U-Visa: Immigration Status for Crime Victims
In October 2000, the U.S. Congress passed a law creating a new temporary status called the U-Visa for certain crime victims. If you are in the U.S. without legal status, and have been the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for a temporary legal status and, eventually, lawful permanent resident status.
- Who is eligible for a U-Visa?
- Which crimes are reviewed in considering eligibility for a U-Visa?
- What are the benefits of a U-Visa?
- Can my family benefit from a U-Visa too?
- Can I apply for a U-Visa now?
- Who can assist me in applying for a U-Visa?
** Who is eligible for a U-Visa?**
Victims of certain crimes listed in the law are eligible for a U-Visa if:
- they have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a crime victim
- they have information about the crime
- they are, have been, or will be helpful to legal authorities investigating or prosecuting the crime.
** Which crimes are reviewed in considering eligibility for a U-Visa?**
The law lists 26 separate crimes, including domestic violence, rape, abusive sexual contact, abduction, blackmail and felony assault. A lawyer or legal services agency can help you determine if you were the victim of a crime included in the U-Visa law.
** What are the benefits of a U-Visa?**
Approved U-Visa applicants will receive 3 years of temporary legal status and work authorization. At the end of this period, most people with U-Visa status will be able to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
** Can my family benefit from a U-Visa too?**
The spouse and children of a U-Visa applicant, and the parent, if the U-Visa applicant is under age 16, may qualify for U-Visa status and if they also meet other requirements in the law.
** Can I apply for a U-Visa now?**
The rules about applying for a U-Visa have not been fully put into place yet, and there is no application form or final regulations. At this time, people who think they qualify for a U-Visa can apply for an interim form of temporary status called "deferred action", which also provides for permission to work. Once the procedures for applying for actual U-Visa status are issued, persons with deferred action status will be notified to submit an application.
** Who can assist me in applying for a U-Visa?**
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SEEKING U-VISA STATUS, GET LEGAL COUNSELING FROM A COMPETENT IMMIGRATION LAWYER OR LEGAL SERVICES WORKER BEFORE APPLYING!! DO NOT RELY ON THE ADVICE OF AN UNAUTHORIZED COUNSELOR.