U.S. Immigration for Victims of Certain Crimes

Who Qualifies for a U-Visa?

The United States Government may grant up to 10,000 foreign nationals who have been victims of certain crimes with U nonimmigrant status (usually referred to as a U-visa). The U status is not available to all victims of crime. The crime must rise to the level of seriousness required under the law. Although the law is generous in the types of crimes that would qualify a victim to apply for U status, the law is also restrictive to certain crimes.

A current list of qualifying crimes for U status is:

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

A Crime Not Specifically Listed Above May Still Qualify

It is important to note that a particular crime not specifically listed above may be included in one or more of the above qualifying crimes list; especially in the categories of “felonious assault” and “other related crimes.” Therefore, there is no substitute for having an experienced immigration attorney evaluate your case for a U-visa.

Must Have Suffered Substantial Physical or Mental Abuse

Furthermore, even if a foreign national is a victim of a qualifying crime, the victim must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.

Helpfulness Requirement

The victim must also be helpful, or have been helpful, or likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation/prosecution of the crime. Additionally, an authorized official of law enforcement such as a designated officer in a Police Department, prosecutor or judge, must provide a certification as to the helpfulness of the victim, before a victim can submit an application for U status. There are exemptions to the helpfulness requirement for victims who are minors or are unable to assist law enforcement due to disability.

Dependents May Apply for Derivative Status

Spouse and children of a U nonimmigrant victim may apply for derivative status. A parent or unmarried sibling under 18 years of age may also seek derivative status if the principal victim is under 21 years of age.

Offers a Path to the Green Card

After three years, a U nonimmigrant may apply for lawful permanent residence (green card). Derivatives may also apply for a green card under certain circumstances.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney

Sunil C. Patel Immigration Law has extensive experience helping victims of crime. We are committed to honest, cost-effective immigration advice and services in every case. Schedule a consultation with attorney Sunil.