If you have been a victim of a crime, you could qualify for what’s called a U Visa, which allows you to have a work permit to work legally in the U.S. It is important to note that if you are approved for a U Visa, you are not considered a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen, but it does authorize you to be in this country to work legally.
What is a U Visa?
A U Visa is available for persons who have been victims of certain crimes and who has been helpful in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. It was developed as a law enforcement tool to encourage people who are in this country undocumented to report crimes. If one is approved for a U Visa, a four year work permit is issued. Further, a person may apply for permanent residency three years from the date the U Visa is issued, so long as the person has had good moral character, has been physically present in the U.S. for three years, and has continued to be helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime.
Who qualifies to apply for a U Visa?
U Visas are available to those who are in this country undocumented or for those who have overstayed their visas, and you must have been a victim of a qualifying crime and have suffered substantial physical and/or mental abuse. If your children have been victims of a qualifying crime, you may still be able to apply for a U Visa as a parent. Further, you may also include children under 21, and/or spouses on your U Visa application.
What type of evidence do I need to submit to immigration?
You must submit evidence that you were a victim of a crime. One of the most important pieces of evidence is a form that must be filled out by a qualifying law enforcement agency certifying that you have been helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. Other evidence includes, but is not limited to, police reports, protective orders, and witness letters.
Completion of a U Visa petition requires many documents and a qualified attorney is important. Please call us today for a consultation to speak to one our experienced attorneys if you think you may be able to apply for a U Visa.