In 2008, the U Visa was created to allow victims of violent or exploitative crimes to remain in the U.S. The purpose was to encourage undocumented immigrants to help law enforcement in the prosecution of criminals. Undocumented immigrants have often been targets of crime because it is often believed they will not go to the police to report crimes committed against them.
To qualify for a U Visa, the individual must meet the following:
- They must have been the victim of certain types of criminal activity.
- They must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from the crime
- They must have cooperated with the police and prosecution of the crime if applicable
- A law enforcement representative must certify that the applicant has cooperated and been helpful with the investigation.
- The crime must have occurred in the United States or violate U.S. law.
- The applicant must be “admissible” to the U.S. or they will need to apply for the appropriate waiver, i.e. for illegal presence. Certain family members may also be eligible for a U Visa as a derivative.
The U Visa is one of several special programs that can provide an immigration path to those who do not qualify for other benefits. A consultation with an experienced immigration attorney can help determine if you and your family are eligible for a U Visa or another immigration benefit.