About U Visa

What is a U Visa?
Immigrants who are worried about being deported may be too afraid to report a crime to the police, even if they are the victim. The U visa can protect victims of certain crimes by making it safer to report the crime or help law enforcement.  A person who is the victim of domestic violence or trafficking, but who doesn't qualify for VAWA or a T visa, can sometimes qualify for a U visa.

Which crimes qualify for a U Visa?
Many crimes and attempted crimes qualify for the U visa. This includes crimes that happen at work. Because different states use different names for those crimes, it's a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer to find out if you qualify for a U visa.

You may qualify for a crime such as:

  • Assault (hitting, beating), abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, genital cutting of a girl or woman
  • Paying someone too little for their work, keeping them prisoner, tricking them into working, threatening to make them lie to an investigator, and others

How do I prove that I qualify?
You must show that:

  • The crime hurt you, physically and/or mentally.
  • You were helpful or will be helpful to law enforcement (police or investigators). This means reporting the crime or answering questions. Even if the crime happened a while ago, it might not be too late to report it or be helpful.

How long does it take to get the visa?
There is a waiting list for the U visa. How long it takes depends on how many people have applied and your place in line. But you can apply for a work permit while you wait for your U visa.

If I get a U Visa, can I help my family members stay in the U.S.?
If you qualify, you can get a work permit and permission to stay in the U.S., and help other family members get a U visa, too. If you are 21 or over, you can apply for your spouse and children, too. If you are under 21, you can also apply for your parents and unmarried brothers and sisters who are under 18.

Eligibility Requirements

You may qualify for a U visa if you:

  • Were the victim of a crime on the list of qualified crimes
  • Were hurt physically and/or mentally because of that  crime
  • Helped - or will help - law enforcement

Note: If you have disobeyed some laws or immigration rules, you may not not qualify for a U visa.

Next Steps

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