Baltimore U Visa Lawyer

A U visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to those who have been victims of certain qualifying crimes, who have suffered physical or mental abuse, and who are willing to cooperate with prosecution or law enforcement in the prosecution and/or the investigation of that crime. The U visa is an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act.

If you have been a victim of a crime, you might be eligible for a U visa. Reach out to an accomplished Baltimore U visa lawyer today. Let a dedicated immigration lawyer help you with the process.

Creation of the U Visa

The U visa program was created as a way to incentivize cooperation with law enforcement for people who have been victims of qualifying crimes who may or may not have lawful immigration status. In 2000, Congress created the U visa under the provision of the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.

The benefit to government and law enforcement spawning from the U visa program is that victims of these certain crimes, which are typically underreported, are more likely to come forward and assist law enforcement. For the victims of the qualifying crimes, they can rest easy reporting crimes without fear of suffering negative immigration consequences, and ultimately these victims are incentivized to report because after cooperation, they are able to secure lawful immigration status.

Is the U Visa Made Available Specifically for Women?

The U visa has no gender specificity or requirement. Men or women can apply for a U visa as long as they have been a victim of a qualifying crime, have cooperated with the prosecution and/or law enforcement investigating the crime, and have suffered substantial physical or mental harm due to that crime.

Eligibility Requirments for a U Visa

A U visa applicant must be a victim of a qualifying crime, must have suffered some substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of being a victim of that of qualifying crime, and must be helpful to law enforcement or the prosecution in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime by providing information about the criminal activity that occurred. Also, the crime must have either occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws and the applicant should be admissible to the United States.

There is a long list of specific crimes that will qualify an individual for a U visa. The entire list can be found at uscis.gov. Some of the qualifying crimes include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Extortion
  • Kidnapping
  • Felonious Assault
  • Sexual Abuse

Anyone who is considering applying for a U visa should go to uscis.gov and review the list to ensure that the crime is considered a qualifying crime for the purpose of obtaining a U visa.

Ultimately, it is the agency that investigates or prosecutes the crime (whether federal, state, or local government) that determines as to whether to crime qualifies the individual for a U visa. The agency has to be able to certify that the victim of the crime has been or will be helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. For more information, consult a U visa lawyer in Baltimore.

Protections for Victims of Crimes

The U visa is used as a protection in order to encourage cooperation with law enforcement. There are also protections under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which encourages those who have been abused by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child to report the abuse and in return, the victim may be eligible to obtain status. There is also a T visa available for those who have been victims of human trafficking.

Applying for a U Visa

A person considering applying for a U visa should obtain the Form I-918 Supplement B Certification Form from the police department or the prosecutor’s office. If there is no record of the crime or no record that the U visa applicant has cooperated with law enforcement or prosecutors, it is likely that that agency will not sign off on the U visa certification. It is crucial to obtain the U visa certification showing a record of the crime and that the U visa applicant cooperated in the investigation or prosecution because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not approve the U visa without it. For help with applying for a U visa, contact a seasoned Baltimore U visa lawyer today.

Baltimore U Visa Lawyer