How to Qualify for a U Visa? & What do I Need?
The U visa or what is commonly referred to as the U nonimmigrant status is going to be solely for victims of specific crimes who underwent physical or mental abuse and are currently in the process of helping government officials or law enforcement agencies in the prosecution or investigation process of these criminal activities.
The United States Congress made the U nonimmigrant visa thanks to the passage from the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act back in October of 2000.
The United States legislation made the U nonimmigrant visa to help give that extra leverage to the various law enforcement agencies to help them prosecute and investigate these cases that consist of:
- Sexual Assault
- Domestic Violence
- Trafficking of Aliens
They did this so not only they can prosecute and investigate these crimes, but also protect the victims of said crimes who already underwent severe physical and even mental abuse at the hands of these abusers. Plus, this was just an added way for law enforcement agencies to better help these abuse victims.
U Visa Requirements
In order to get a U nonimmigrant visa, you must meet the following requirements before you can apply using the application:
- You are the victim of the specific qualifying criminal charges (see below)
- You underwent great mental and physical abuse while a victim of these criminal activities
- You have pertinent information about said criminal activity
- You helped law enforcement agencies with their investigation and their prosecution of the criminal activities
- The criminal activity took place in the United States and broke the United States Laws
- You are permitted to the United States. If you are not, you will need to fill out the Form I-192, which is known as the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant
U Visa Qualifying Crimes
The below crimes are the ONLY crimes that will qualify you to get the U nonimmigrant visa. Keep in mind that these crimes needed to have happened on United States soil.
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Witness Tampering
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Slave Trade
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Sexual Exploitation
- Felonious Assault
- Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- Sexual Assault
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
How to Apply for a U Visa?
To apply for your U nonimmigrant visa, you will need to handle the following things:
- Fill out Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status Form I-918
- Fill out Supplement B, along with U Nonimmigrant Status Certification Form I-918
- If you were NOT permitted in the United States, you will need to fill out the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant Form I192
- A statement made you recount the criminal activity that made you a victim
If you are currently NOT in the United States, but the crime happened on US soil, you can apply using the following procedure:
- You will be required to file the above forms and submit them to the Vermont Service Center
- You will need to follow all instructions that you receive from the Vermont Service Center
- If you are approved, you will need to have an interview at the United States Embassy with a consular officer
How to File for Qualifying Members of the Family?
When it comes to U nonimmigrant visa, there will be certain family members that will be eligible for a U visa based solely on their relationship to you. However, first and foremost, you will need to be approved prior to you getting your family their own personal derivative U nonimmigrant visa.
If you are 21 and under, you can apply for your spouse (if applicable), parents, any siblings who are 18 and under and NOT married, along with your children.
If you are 21 and over, you can apply for your children and spouse ONLY.
You will need to fill out the Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member Form I-918 either while you are applying for your U nonimmigrant visa or after you have already been approved.
U Visa Processing Time
The U nonimmigrant visa processing time is going to be a long one. Do not think for a second this process is going to be quick and easy and you will be in the United States within a few months.
Majority of the time, this process from the moment you submit your application to the time your application is approved can take up to 5 years or more. This is since the US Citizenship and Immigration Service can take years just before they even take one look at your application.