U visa is reserved for persons who were the victim of qualifying criminal activity or have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse in the United States. Two more situations may allow you to use this possibility. Those are having the right information about the criminal activity and your knowledge about it that can be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Requirements stated above are a start point for considering whether you are eligible for this type of nonimmigrant visa. In further text, we will explain in more detail the qualifications of the definition stated above.
What are the types of criminal activities that will make you eligible for a U visa?
While the U visa is intended for victims of certain types of crime, the qualifying crimes cover a much more extensive range of criminal activities than domestic violence or violence by a U.S. citizen against a family member. Any crime committed against an individual (whether it is violent or non-violent) may qualify. Some of those are abduction, abusive sexual contact, domestic violence, felonious and sexual assault, fraud in foreign labor contracting, stalking, etc.
Other related crimes also include attempts, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the mentioned and other similar crimes.
A full list of qualifying criminal activities, you can find on the USCIS official website.
How have you helped law enforcement?
To obtain a U nonimmigrant visa, it is also essential to be helpful to law enforcement in investigating the crime. The good thing is that it doesn’t matter whether your help led them to resolve the case and to cache the suspect. What matters is that you get proof of being helpful to them.
Therefore, you can provide help in the following ways:
you called the police;
you told the police about what happened;
you answered all of their questions;
you let them take pictures;
you helped the police find who did the crime;
you talked to a prosecutor;
you testified in court.
Were you hurt?
To qualify for the U-Visa, it is vital whether you have been hurt. Meaning, you need to have suffered either physical or mental harm, or even both. When it comes to sexual abuse, for example, it will almost always make a person eligible for a U-Visa since it causes both physical and psychological damage.
It doesn’t matter whether you were hurt by a single act, or by many actions over time.
Did you feel pain?
Any of these events may qualify you for this type of nonimmigrant visa:
you are still injured or in pain;
you were already sick, and the crime made it worse;
it affected your look;
you had to miss work;
you had to see the doctor or a therapist;
you had to take medicine;
you felt anxious or depression;
you felt sadness;
you had trouble with eating or sleeping.
Having any reason for your deportation – ask the government to forgive you
Many people have done certain things (such as committing a crime or entering the United States illegally) that could make it more challenging to get permission from the government to stay in the United States. This is one benefit of the U-Visa that differs from most other visas is. The government will choose to forgive almost anything you have done in the past as long as you ask for it. This process of asking the government for forgiveness is called a “waiver.” Asking for a waiver, you will list all of the things you want the government to forgive. Usually, the government is generous in granting these waivers for most U-Visa applicants, so you should be completely honest about all the intentions why you need a waiver.
There are many reasons when you may need a waiver. If you do not know if you need a waiver, it is best to apply for a waiver anyway.
Here is the list of some of the acts that require a waiver if you have broken immigration laws:
coming to the United States without or with someone else’s papers
returning to the country after your deportation
lying that you were a U.S. citizen
missing to show up to immigration court for a hearing
committed almost any crime, including drug offense, theft or fraud, crimes involving violence, helping a non-citizen enter the country illegally, and prostitution
If you have repetitious criminal offenses, you should find a lawyer who will assist you with your U-Visa application. Although it is possible to go through the process of obtaining a U-Visa on your own, a lawyer can help you if your application is more complicated.