U Visa (Victim of Criminal Activity)

The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is available for victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse and who have assisted, are assisting or are willing to assist the law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This visa is available to victims of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, etc. Non-domestic abuse crimes (including attempt or conspiracy to commit crimes) such as abduction, hostage, incest, stalking, murder, extortion, fraud in foreign labor contracting are some of the other qualifying criminal activities which makes a victim eligible for a U visa.

Procedure & Requirements

  • The beneficiary of the U visa needs a certification from the law enforcement confirming that the beneficiary has been helpful or will likely be helpful with the investigation/prosecution of the case;
  • A personal statement from the beneficiary describing the criminal activity of which he has been a victim off;
  • The beneficiary has to document that s/he has suffered mental or physical abuse due to the nature of the crime.

Related Issues

  • Qualifying family members are eligible for derivative U visa;
  • Once granted, U nonimmigrant status is valid for four years;
  • Only 10,000 U visas are granted each year to principal petitioners. Once the cap is reached the applicant is granted deferred action or parole and can apply for a work authorization;
  • There is no cap for qualifying derivative family members;
  • Beneficiary of a U visa is eligible to apply for a green card (adjustment of status) after being physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least three years while in U status.