Alexandria U Visa Lawyer

Many stigmas surround experiencing a crime as a victim that keep survivors from speaking out about their side of the story. From the perspective of an immigrant in Alexandria, this task can seem overwhelming if one fears that reporting the event could lead to their deportation. Know that you do not have to face these situations alone–an experienced Alexandria U Visa lawyer can help. If you have faced assault and cooperated with law enforcement to help find the perpetrator, reach out to a professional Virginia attorney today to learn how you can benefit from a U Visa.

What is a U Visa?

A U visa is a nonimmigrant visa for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors in the investigation or prosecution of criminal conduct. Congress created the U visa category as a provision of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protections Act in 2000 to incentivize cooperation between law enforcement and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other crimes in order to improve law enforcement’s ability to investigate these crimes. While it was incorporated as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act (or VAWA), the gender of the applicant is not relevant to the inquiry. Their eligibility depends on whether the applicant has suffered as a victim of a crime as well their cooperation with law enforcement.

Defining Benefits of a U Visa

This non-immigrant visa holds a 10,000 quota cap on petitions each year. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves U visas. The most significant benefit from obtaining a U visa is that law enforcement is assured, and all of those residing in the jurisdiction will be willing to cooperate in the investigations of crimes without fear of suffering negative immigration consequences. To learn more about the benefits of receiving a U Visa, consider retaining an Alexandria U visa lawyer today.

Alexandria U Visa Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a U visa, an applicant must be the victim of a qualifying crime, have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of that criminal activity, and be able to provide information about the criminal activity. A federal state or local government official investigating the criminal activity must be able to certify that the victim has been or will be helpful in the investigation, and the crime must have occurred in the United States or violated US laws. The applicant should also be admissible to the United States.

Law Enforcement Certification

The most significant step to remember in applying for a U visa is obtaining certification from the police department or the prosecutor’s office in a timely fashion. If there is no record of the crime or of the cooperation, then the agency will not sign off on the U visa. If one has questions as to whether or not they are eligible for an Alexandria U visa, know that an immigration lawyer can help to determine those factors.

What Reported Crimes May Qualify an Individual for a U Visa?

There is a long list of crimes that may qualify for a U visa. Some of these include:

  • Abduction
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • FGM
  • Assault
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder

Know that this is by no means an exhaustive list–a full list can be found on the USCIS website. It is worth noting that the crimes also include attempts, conspiracy, and solicitation to commit any of the crimes listed. The U visa is meant to be a protection in place to encourage immigrants with or without status to report such crimes. Other protections also exist under the VAWA that encourage individuals to report, such as the T visa. In order to obtain help in qualifying for a U visa, consider reaching out to a professional Alexandria U visa lawyer today.