If you have been or a victim of crime or domestic abuse in the U.S., you may be eligible to apply for a special type of immigration status available to victims. Many immigrants fear reporting crimes to the police because they fear they will be asked about their immigration status and removed (deported) from the U.S. by law enforcement authorities. This is not the case.
In fact, U.S. law provides protections for both legal and undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crimes, to encourage cooperation of victims who might otherwise be reluctant to report or to participate in law enforcement investigations.
The two most common types of visas for crime victims are “VAWA petitions” and “U visas.” Both of these immigration benefits were created under the Violence Against Women Act, which was first authorized by Congress in 1994, and was most recently renewed in 2013. There are important differences between the eligibility requirements and benefits conferred by these applications, but both can lead to legal permanent residence, and eventually citizenship for individuals who may have no other options to apply for legal status in the U.S. Contact our office for a consultation if you believe you have been the victim of a crime.
Learn more about how a visa lawyer in DC can help.