The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 authorized a new visa for immigrant victims of serious crimes, called the “U” visa. The legislation was a response to rising public safety concerns, with the idea that foreign nationals living in the U.S. are often victims of crimes. The law provides that foreign nationals who are victims of crimes should be allowed to live in the U.S. to provide law enforcement officials with information helping in apprehending and prosecuting criminal offenders.
To qualify for a U visa or U status in the U.S., you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have been the victim of a qualifying crime;
- The crime must have occurred inside the U.S. or violated U.S. law;
- You must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse;
- You must be ready and willing to provide useful information about the criminal activity to law enforcement;
- You must continue to cooperate with law enforcement in order to bring the perpetrator of the crime to justice.
If you are approved for a U visa, you will be granted legal status in the U.S. for up to four years. After holding U status for three years, you may be able to apply for a U.S. green card. Also, your family members may qualify for derivative U status if they are eligible. Please call our office so you can speak to an experienced attorney to help you with this matter.