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A person who was a victim of any of the 28 types of qualifying crimes may be eligible for a U Visa. To be qualified, the person must cooperate with the investigation or prosecution of such criminal misconduct as well as obtain government certification and suffer substantial harm. The person may also seek U non-immigrant status for family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) and, if the principal petitioner is under 21 on the date of filing, his or her parents and siblings under 18. A U visa petitioner as well as derivative beneficiaries may apply for a waiver on almost all grounds of inadmissibility.
Must be a Victim of a Qualifying Criminal Activity who Suffered Substantial Harm
Under INA 101 (a)(15)(U), an individual in order to be eligible must have been a victim of qualifying criminal misconduct. This includes “rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; stalking; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; fraud in foreign labor contracting (as defined in section 1351 of title 18, United States Code).” Also, any “attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes” may also qualify an individual for a U Visa. The criminal misconduct must have been violative of either Federal, State or local criminal laws.
The person must have also been a qualifying victim who suffered substantial harm – either physical or mental abuse – as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
Work Authorization and Green Cards for U Visa Crime Victims and Family
A person who is in the U.S. and was granted U Visa status will be granted employment authorization for four years without the need to file an I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). A derivative beneficiary in the U.S. whose U Visa status was approved must separately apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) on Form I- 765.
If the principal or derivative beneficiary has been continuously present in the U.S. in a U visa status for at least three years and with a U visa status that has not yet expired, then he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status. The applicant must show that the grant of legal permanent resident status is justified “on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest” pursuant to INA 245(m)(1)(B). Those spouses who are no longer married to the U Visa principal or children who marry, may lose their eligibility to apply for lawful permanent status.
Allow the Law Firm of Kyce Siddiqi to examine your circumstance relating to the crime and the harm that you suffered. A former police officer who has long worked with and helped crime victims, we will carefully inquire and assist you in your case. Call today to arrange a consultation.