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When Can U Visas Provide Immigration Relief for Crime Victims?

 Posted on November 05, 2021 in Immigration

Orlando U visa attorneysImmigrants in the United States who have been the victims of crimes will sometimes struggle to leave a dangerous situation. A person may be concerned about their immigration status, and they may worry that if they come forward and report a crime to law enforcement officials, they could face deportation. However, crime victims may be able to qualify for U visas that will allow them to be protected from deportation and continue living in the United States. Immigrants can work with an experienced attorney to ensure they meet all requirements for these types of visas, and they also may be able to take steps to receive a Green Card that will provide them with permanent resident status.

Eligibility for U Visas

Victims of certain types of crimes may be able to receive U visas that provide them with nonimmigrant status. Qualifying crimes include domestic violence, sexual assault, prostitution, kidnapping, stalking, extortion, and felony assault. A victim must be able to provide information about criminal activity that has affected them, and they must be willing to cooperate with law enforcement officials and assist with the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of a criminal offender.

A person can apply for a U visa by submitting Form I-918 (Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If there are any issues that affect a person’s ability to be legally admitted to the United States, they may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. They will also need to submit a signed certification from a law enforcement official that provides information about the criminal activity that has affected the victim and states that they have cooperated or are willing to cooperate in a criminal case. Any local, state, or federal law enforcement agency can complete a certification, and certifications can also be performed by judges or prosecutors. Certification can be submitted at any time during an investigation or criminal case or after a case has been completed. A victim may be eligible for a U visa even if the alleged perpetrator is acquitted or if charges are ultimately dropped or dismissed.

If a person is granted U nonimmigrant status, they will be able to continue living in the United States for four years. Extensions may be granted based on requests from law enforcement officials to ensure that a victim can continue cooperating with one or more criminal cases, or a person may receive an extension in other exceptional circumstances. If, after receiving a U visa, a person lives in the U.S. for at least three years and continues to cooperate with law enforcement, they will be eligible to apply for a Green Card. Certain family members of crime victims may also be able to receive derivative U visas, and they can apply for Green Cards once they are eligible.

Contact Our Orange County U Visa Attorneys

If you have been the victim of a crime, Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC can help you determine whether you may qualify for a U visa, and we will work with you to complete your visa application and receive protection from deportation. To set up a free consultation and get legal help with your case, contact our Orlando immigration visa lawyers at 407-955-5000.





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