Arlington U Visa Lawyer

A U visa is a visa that victims of certain qualifying criminal activity are eligible for if they have suffered physical or mental harm as a consequence of the crime and are willing to cooperate with authorities in the investigation and prosecution of it.

A U visa is categorized as a nonimmigrant visa. There is a cap of 10,000 U visas issued each year and the limit typically is reached. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for issuing U visas. If you have been victimized and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement during the investigation and prosecution of the crime, speak with an Arlington U visa lawyer. A dedicated immigration attorney could guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Origins of the U Visa

The U visa and the Violence Against Women Act is a section of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. U visas began when Congress added a provision to the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act to include the U visa category as a way to allow victims of those crimes to help law enforcement prosecute the perpetrators. The purpose was to instill cooperation from the victims and improve the ability of the organization investigating the crimes to enforce and investigate them appropriately. U visas are beneficial to the government and law enforcement in that they can help make sure that the violent actors or those in criminal activities are brought to justice.

Reported Crimes That Qualify an Individual for a U Visa

There are many reported crimes that qualify an individual for a U visa, including:

  • Domestic violence
  • Being held hostage
  • Blackmail
  • Extortion
  • Murder
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Felonious assault

Those are only a few on the list of qualifying crimes, the full list can be viewed at www.uscis.gov.

The crimes that qualify for U visas often go unreported, especially crimes of a sexual nature and those that require testifying against a family member, like domestic violence. Additionally, a person may want to report a crime, but because of their immigration status, may fear what will happen to them. An Arlington U visa lawyer could protect an individual’s rights while guiding them through the U visa application process and ensuing investigation.

Eligibility Requirements for a U Visa

As an Arlington U visa lawyer could explain, to qualify for a U visa, a person has to be a victim of certain criminal activities. As a result of that activity, they must have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse. They also must be able to provide information about the qualifying criminal activity and be helpful to either the government or law enforcement that is investigating and prosecuting the crime that occurred in the United States or violated US laws. It does not matter whether a person is a man or woman because gender is not relevant in applying for a U visa. The person does not have to have a legal connection to an American citizen to be eligible for a U visa. The only thing that is considered is whether the criminal activity violated U.S. law, or the crime occurred in the US.

Expectations of How Helpful a Victim Must Be

There are certain expectations for how helpful a victim must be during an investigation, and that is determined by whoever is doing the investigation, whether it is a state or federal law enforcement agency, or the prosecutor. The certifying party has to be able to state that the applicant for the U visa was helpful during the investigation. They have to have been or were willing to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime that occurred.

Important Information an Arlington U Visa Attorney Could Share

If someone is considering applying for a U visa, the most important thing to know is that they must get Form I-918 Supplement B, the certification form, and have it signed off by law enforcement or a prosecutor’s office. An Arlington U Visa could make an individual aware of what paperwork they need to get signed, and when that paperwork must be turned in. The person applying for a U visa must show that they were a victim of a qualifying crime. If there is no record that the crime occurred, and if the applicant is not cooperating with local law enforcement or the prosecutor, it is unlikely they will get the form I-918 Supplement B signed. If an individual wants to pursue a U visa, they should speak with an Arlington U visa attorney that could help.