San Diego U Visas Attorney Helping Victims of Crime
U Visa for Foreign victims that cooperated with police
The U Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that was created to encourage noncitizen victims of a crime to report the crime and cooperate with police. The U Visa is available to documented or undocumented noncitizens that suffered certain types of crimes and cooperated with law enforcement by giving them information about the suspect and expressed a willingness to testify against the suspect if needed. Although the noncitizen must cooperate with police, there is no requirement that the noncitizen testify at trial or that the case be prosecuted. The important benefit of a U Visa is being able to adjust status within the United States and apply for naturalization and citizenship.
U Visa Eligibility Criteria
A noncitizen applicant interested in applying for a U visa will need to file Form I-918 called Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. The applicant will need to provide substantial evidence supporting their claim with USCIS. They following criteria is required:
- Victim of an enumerated criminal act
- Crime occurred in the United States
- Victim can be either a direct, Indirect, or a bystander victim
- Parent, guardian or friend of victim under age 16 provided helpful information
- Victim suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
- Cooperative with police and prosecutors
- Victim gave useful information about the crime
- Obtain a signed certification confirming cooperation from the investigative agency
Suffered Physical Injury or Mental Abuse
The noncitizen victim needs to show that she or he suffered substantial physical harm or mental abuse as a result of one or more of the qualifying crimes under INA§101(a)(15)(U)(iii). USCIS will look at factors such as: the type and severity of the physical or mental harm or injuries and the degree of force or violence used by the perpetrator. The noncitizen applicant will need to provide supporting evidence such as medical records, photos, psychological reports, witness declarations, and a detailed description of the physical or mental harm to the applicant. USCIS will review the application and supporting documentation before denying or granting the U Visa.
U Visa Leads to U. S. Citizenship
The U Visa can waive prior unlawful presence, unauthorized work, prior deportations, illegal reentry into the United States and stop deportation proceedings. Another important benefit of the U Visa is that it allows the noncitizen to apply for a work permit, a green card and apply for citizenship after five years.
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