New York City Immigration Attorney
U Visa Victims of Crime – By a New York City Immigration Attorney
A U Visa is offered to aliens who have been victims of a crime, and have assisted, are assisting, or will assist in the investigation and prosecution of the defendant, a suspect, or any other person who committed the crime. The U Visa victim must possess information concerning the criminal activity which have been, currently is or will likely be helpful to a Federal, State or local law enforcement official. The U Visa victim must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse.
The U visa is part of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and was established as a humanitarian relief for victims of certain serious crimes who have suffered substantial physical or mental harm and who can demonstrate that they have cooperated with law enforcement.
Individuals who obtain a U visa are granted permission to leave and work in the United States for up to four years.
Congress has allocated 10,000 U visas to be issued each year. Once the annual cap is reached, applicants are placed on a waitlist and are given deferred action status, allowing them to live and work in the United States while waiting for a U Visa number. Those aliens who are granted deferred action are protected from the threat of deportation and removal proceedings and may apply for employment authorization by showing financial hardship. Derivative family members who are qualified to receive U visa benefits under the principal applicant’s petition include spouses, parents and siblings (if principal applicant is under 21) and children.
A New York City Immigration Attorney who represents an alien victim of a crime must prove that the alien is eligible for a U Visa according to the following requirements:
- The crime must have taken place within the United States.
- The victim must have filed a criminal report with a law enforcement agency regarding the crime.
- The victim must have suffered significant mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime
- The victim or the victim’s children will suffer if removed or deported from the United States
A U Visa victim doesn’t need to know the person who committed the crime. In addition, the perpetrator of the crime doesn’t not need to be a green card holder or a US citizen. If you are a victim of a crime and are seeking permanent residency in the United States, contact a New York City Immigration Attorney to assist you in preparing and filing an application for a U Visa. When your U Visa application is approved, you will be eligible for an employment authorization card and may be eligible for adjustment of status to a Lawful Permanent Resident after three years.