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U Visa for Victims of Crime

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

What is the U Visa?

U visas are available to non-citizens who (1) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse resulting from a wide range of criminal activities; (2) have been helpful, are being helpful or are likely to be helpful in assisting law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal activity; (3) possess information concerning the criminal activity; and (4) the criminal activity described violates the U.S. laws.

Who is Eligible to Apply for a U Visa?

Victims of a broad range of criminal activity listed in the legislation may qualify for U visas. Many of these victims will be women and children and include victims of domestic violence, nannies subjected to abuse by their employers, trafficking victims, and victims of rape in the workplace.

If I am in Removal/Deportation Proceedings, Can I Still Apply for a U Visa?

Yes, you may still apply for U visa even if you have a deportation order.

If I Have Been Convicted of Aggravated Felonies, Can I Apply for a U Visa?

No, you cannot.

I am in a Valid Nonimmigration Status, Can I Apply for a U Visa?

Yes, you may, but you have to relinquish your valid nonimmigration status first.

Can I Obtain a Green Card after Receiving a U Visa?

You will be able to apply for a green card after three years in U nonimmigrant status.

Am I Eligible to Apply for a U Visa If I am Outside of the U.S.?

You can apply for a U visa outside the U.S. as long as the criminal activity has violated U.S. law or has occurred in U.S. territory. You can submit a U visa petition to USCIS under the help of an attorney and then apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

What Are the Benefits of a U Visa?

The U visa holder will be granted temporary legal status and work authorization and can apply for permanent resident status after three years. U visa holders can remain in the U.S. for a period up to 4 years with a possible extension in certain cases.

Is There a Deadline to Submit A U Visa Application?

No, there is no deadline. However, there is a deadline of April 14, 2008 for those who have already been granted interim relief to file an application for U visa status.

Is There a Yearly Quota on U Visas?

Up to 10,000 U visas will be available each year for eligible applicants. Once the cap of 10,000 per year is reached, victims requesting U visa applications will be placed in a consecutive waitlist and will be issued deferred action. The deferred applicants are still eligible to apply for employment authorization and travel documents.

Can Family Members Benefit from the U Visa?

The applicant's spouse or unmarried children under 21 may receive U visas at the same time as the principal applicant if the cap has not been reached.

When the petitioner is 20 years or younger (on the date of application), the following family members may receive visas at the same time as the principal applicant:

  1. Spouse
  2. Unmarried children under 21
  3. Unmarried siblings under 18
  4. Parents

USCIS must usually determine that the qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if a U visa is not granted.

Can I Travel Outside the U.S. After My U Visa is Approved?

U visa holders are allowed to leave the U.S. but must apply for a reentry visa. U Visa holders should keep in mind that if they accrued more than 180 days of í░unlawful presenceí▒ in the U.S. prior to obtaining U nonimmigrant status, they may be found inadmissible on their return to the U.S. U visa holders subject to unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility may request a waiver of inadmissibility using Form I-192.


The above is intended as a general introduction and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion for your particular case. Please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates with any specific questions. Tel: (301) 838-8986, Email:, Address: 110 N Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850.

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