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Are You An Immigrant Who Is The Victim of a Crime?

U-Visa: Are You An Immigrant Who Is The Victim of a Crime? | Immigration Lawyer Mario Godoy | Immigration Simplified

U.S. immigration law allows foreign nationals who have been victims of some crimes to be granted U nonimmigrant status (U visa) and to get a Green Card to become a lawful permanent resident, even if they do not meet all other immigration qualifications.

U-Visas are granted for up to 4 years, and the visa holder can apply for legal permanent residence after 3 years if they comply with all requirements. To qualify for U-Visa you need to provide a “certificate of helpfulness” from a qualifying government agency and prove that you suffered mental or physical abuse by a U.S. perpetrator.

A U-Visa for a Victim of a Crime

A U-Visa gives law enforcement greater ability to protect victims of crimes and prosecute perpetrators. U-Visa for a Victim of a Crime is for victims of specific crimes who have suffered mentally or physically and have been helpful to law enforcement. The U-Visa has only been issued since 2009 to help law enforcement better investigate and prosecute certain crimes and to protect victims of crime.

U-Visa Applicant Qualifications

  • While you are in the United States, you are the victim of a “qualifying criminal activity” by a US citizen that broke US laws
  • You have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of this criminal activity
  • You have valuable information that will help the law enforcement investigation
  • You help the law enforcement investigation
  • You must be eligible to immigrate to the United States, or you must apply for a Waiver

Qualifying Crimes

To qualify for a U-Visa you must be a victim or witness of a serious crime or know about a crime that is going to be committed. Not every crime qualifies for a U-Visa. In general, crimes that qualify for a U-Visa include:

  • Violent crimes: murder, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, robbery, felonious assault. domestic violence and stalking
  • Enslavement crimes: criminal restraint, kidnapping, abduction, being held hostage, forced labor, slavery, human trafficking, indentured or debt servitude, and false imprisonment.
  • Sexual crimes: rape, incest, sexual trafficking, sexual assault and abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and female genital mutilation.
  • Obstruction of justice crimes: perjury, witness tampering, withholding evidence.
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting

Family Member U-Visas

Family members of U-Visa applicants may also qualify for a U-Visa, including;

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents

Applying for and receiving a “certification of helpfulness” from law enforcement must be done quickly and carefully. Undocumented immigrants should consult an immigration lawyer to find out if they qualify for a U Visa before they contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If the application is denied, the applicant could be deported; an immigration attorney will know the best options to protect you and your family during your case.

If you believe you or a family member are eligible to apply for a U-Visa, contact the Immigration Simplified attorneys to evaluate your case and advise you on your immigration claim. Please contact our office or call us at 1-800-447-1660.

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Mario Godoy

Mario Godoy, Attorney at Immigration Simplified
Mario A. Godoy is the founder of Immigration Simplified and Godoy Law Office. His mission is to provide immigrants access to affordable, lawyer-backed immigration services. Immigration Simplified serves immigrants and foreign visitors to the United States. We help U.S. citizens reunite and/or obtain legal immigration status for their family members.
Mario Godoy
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