U Visa: Victims of Criminal Activity

U Visa: Victims of Crimes

Many immigrants are fearful of admitting that they have been a victim of a crime in part because they believe they will be removed (deported) from the United States if they report the crime. Some immigrants may be afraid to report acts of domestic violence to the police or to seek other forms of assistance. Such fear causes many immigrants to remain in abusive relationships.

However, this is not the case. U.S. law provides several protections for legal and undocumented immigrants who have been victims of a crime.  There are specific protections for victims of domestic violence, victims of certain crimes, and victims of human trafficking.  All agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including USCIS, are legally prohibited from disclosing that a victim has applied for VAWA, T, or U immigration benefits.

What is U non-immigrant status?

U non-immigrant status (or U visa) offers immigration protection for victims and is also a tool for law enforcement. To obtain U status, the victim must obtain certification from law enforcement. However, obtaining certification does not grant a benefit; only USCIS has the authority to grant or deny this benefit.

Victims of the following crimes may be eligible for a U non-immigrant visa:

  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Perjury
  • Felonious Assault
  • Hostage Taken
  • Incest
  • Peonage
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Witness Tampering
  • Prostitution
  • Sexual Assault
  • Slave Trade
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Other Related Crimes

Victims are not required to be in legal immigration status, but they must establish that they:

  1. Are a victim of a qualifying criminal activity and have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime
  2. Possess credible and reliable information about the qualifying criminal activity
  3. Are, have been, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of that qualifying criminal activity
  4. Are a victim of criminal activity that violated a U.S. law

Colorado Immigration Attorneys at Murad & Murad have extensive experience in this area of U.S. Immigration Law.
To schedule a consultation, please call 303-449-5535.