There are many ways for a foreign national to forge a new life in this country. Among the less familiar and more complex routes to legal status is the U visa, which was created to help individuals who have been the victims of serious crimes in the United States. The visa allows a non-citizen to obtain legal immigration status for a period of three years. After that time expires, the victim may then apply for legal permanent resident status, commonly called a green card. At Nicolet Lawyers, our compassionate immigration lawyers are experienced in helping non-citizens in and around Wisconsin complete the U visa application.Qualifying for a U Visa
In order to be eligible for the U visa, the foreign national must be a victim of a “qualified criminal activity” that either occurred in the U.S. or was a violation of our nation’s laws. For example, a person who is sexually assaulted here could qualify as a victim. Importantly, “victim” does not restrict eligibility to the person directly affected by the crime but also extends to indirect victims and bystanders, such as the relatives of a murdered person.
The nature of the crime perpetrated against the foreign national must be particularly serious and often violent in nature in order to meet the “qualified criminal activity” requirement. Some examples of conduct that satisfies this standard include domestic violence, kidnapping, murder, manslaughter, prostitution, felonious assault, rape, sexual assault, abduction, and extortion. Also, the crime must have caused the applicant to suffer substantial physical or mental abuse, such as serious injury or psychological harm.
In addition to the above requirements, to qualify for the U visa the foreign national must also be able to prove that he or she helped the police investigate or prosecute the crime.The U Visa Application Process
The application for a U visa is made on the Form I-918, which the foreign national must complete and send to USCIS along with documentary evidence that proves that he or she qualifies for the visa. This material includes an explanation and proof that the individual is a victim of a qualifying crime and that he or she suffered the requisite substantial mental or physical harm as a result. It also must contain a certification from the policy agency that the victim helped to prosecute or investigate the offense.
Preparing and gathering the necessary documentation for the U visa application can be very overwhelming and difficult. In particular, many applicants have a lot of trouble in obtaining the needed certification from the police agency. This item in particular is crucial to obtaining the U visa approval.
One of the benefits of the U visa is that it allows applicants to obtain derivative status for certain members of their family, including spouses, unmarried children under 21, and sometimes parents and siblings. Another advantage is that U visa recipients may also apply for work authorization in the U.S. by filing the Form I-765 Application.
However, it must be pointed out that many people pursuing this status are currently in the U.S. without immigration authorization and need the visa in order to prevent deportation. Other applicants may have committed crimes themselves. Because of these issues, they may require waivers of inadmissibility before they can receive a U visa. Obtaining an inadmissibility waiver is complex, and individuals who require them are encouraged to contact our immigration lawyer Spiro Nicolet to begin the application process.Consult a Wisconsin Lawyer for Your Immigration Needs
The capable immigrant visa attorneys at Nicolet Lawyers have dedicated their energies to helping non-citizens in Wisconsin. We are familiar with the U visa laws and regulations and know how to compile the documents that you need to present a convincing case for your eligibility. Contact our office today at 773-562-6884 or through our online form to arrange a consultation with a member of our staff.