U Visa: What is it? What are the benefits? Is it for you?

This post is also available in: Español

The U Nonimmigrant Status Program, commonly known as the U visa, is a provision available for people who have been victims of violent crimes within the United States and who cooperated with law enforcement thereafter. After having a U visa for three years, you may qualify for adjustment of status, which means that you could get your green card and become a United States legal permanent resident without leaving the country. Keep reading to know more.

Would you like to know if you can get a U visa? Before you file any paperwork on your own, consider having your case reviewed by a licensed immigration attorney. An immigration attorney can help you review your case and file the appropriate forms for a higher probability of success.

Who Qualifies for a U Visa?

To qualify for a U Visa, you need to meet certain specific requirements that would allow you to request this type of Visa. The basic requirements are:

  • You were the victim of a violent crime
  • The crime occurred inside the territory of the United States
  • You did everything you could to help authorities with the case

Some people who were victims of crime in the past but never contacted the police to file a report do not qualify for the U visa. One of the most important aspects of this provisions relies on the fact that you cooperated with the law enforcement agencies involved to continue with the criminal case against the culprit or culprits. 

If the culprits were not caught or prosecuted, but you did everything you possibly could by giving all the information you had and cooperating with the officers and investigators, you still can qualify for a U visa, even if the authorities were unable to continue the case.

What Are the Benefits of a U Visa?

One of the main benefits of getting a U visa is that, after having this visa for three years, you may qualify for adjustment of status and obtain a green card, which would make you a legal permanent resident. Also, if you have grounds of inadmissibility, the U visa can give you the option to waive those grounds of inadmissibility.

For example, if you are married to a United States citizen but you made false claims of citizenship in the past, you may be permanently barred from filing a family petition to become a resident. But, with the U visa, you are able to get a waiver and become eligible for your residency in the future. 

This is just one example. If you have been told in the past that you don’t qualify for a green card but would like to have a more thorough evaluation by a professional immigration attorney, do not hesitate to ask; it may give you the opportunity you need.

Another benefit is that you could include your minor children or a spouse in your petition. This is called a U visa with derivatives. Eventually, your whole family could be approved for a U visa and then for a green card. And, of course, this would be the right path to take if you want to apply for citizenship in the future.

How Long Does It Take to Get a U Visa?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions because things have changed considerably in recent years. Unfortunately, the waiting period for a U visa is currently of about five years. And, while you are waiting for USCIS to make a decision regarding your case, you will not get a work permit. 

Once you are approved, you will be placed in a waiting list for your turn to get the U visa. You need to be in a wait list because Congress only allows 10,000 U visas to be issued each year. However, once you have been approved after about five years, you will be granted a work permit even if you still don’t have the U visa with you. Once you finally get the U visa, which is valid for four years, you will start to count the three years needed to apply for a green card.

The long wait might feel like an overwhelmingly long time, but once you have the U visa in your hands, you will realize that it was worth the wait. Get in touch with a professional immigration attorney to find out if the U visa is the right option for you. Don’t make the wait longer and act now.

Immigration Help to Get a U Visa

If you have any questions or doubts about the U Visa or you would like to start your application today, I'd be more than happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

CONTACT US

Need help? Contact Law Office of Sharon Abaud to speak with an immigration lawyer.

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About the Author Sharon Abaud, Esq.

If you have any questions about your Immigration Status, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Your immigration case matters to me.

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