Determining whether you are eligible for a U visa

  • Jan 23 2017

Many great advancements have been made to protect immigrants and ensure their rights are protected. Situations in which immigrants have been victims of crimes are the most important occasion to uphold these ideals. There are a number of protections afforded in such instances, including the U visa. According to the New York Times, however, only about 26 percent of applications received each year in New York alone are approved. Consider the following factors to determine whether you may be eligible for a U visa.

Find out if your crime qualifies

Before starting the U visa application, immigrants should carefully consider whether their experience constitutes eligibility. Only certain criminal activity qualifies, so it is important to examine the situation at hand prior to moving forward. Qualifying crimes include abduction, blackmail, extortion, hostage, incest, kidnapping, rape, stalking and trafficking, among others. If you like, you can research more information on whether your circumstances apply.

You must be able to assist law enforcement

Another stipulation of eligibility for a U visa is the requirement that crime victims actively aid law enforcement in the investigation or have already provided assistance. This can complicate the situation by necessitating that an immigrant’s participation in the investigation is certified by an agency. To satisfy this requirement, be sure to cooperate with law enforcement along every step of the way and provide any information that may be relevant.

Determine whether you are admissible to the U.S.

To qualify for the U visa, applicants must be otherwise admissible to immigrate to the United States under current laws and regulations. This means that all standards currently set in place for immigration will also apply to immigrants seeking a U visa after being a victim of a crime. If a person is ineligible for some reason, Form I-92, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant, may be used as a waiver.

Explore other visa options

After receiving a U visa, immigrants may become eligible for permanent resident status. Criteria include three years of continual residence in the United States, satisfaction of medical and vaccination requirements and evidence of compliance in prior investigation of crime. Fulfilling these and other qualifications may lead to eligibility for residency.

If you are an immigrant who has been a victim of a crime in the United States, there are legal options available. Contacting an attorney may help you advocate for as well as understand your legal rights and apply for the visa you need.

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