Fairfax U Visa Lawyer

A U-Visa is a type of immigration status available to individuals who are undocumented or out of status in the United States, and have been victims of crimes and have been cooperative in the investigation or the prosecution of the offense for which they are a victim.

If you are looking to obtain a U visa, it is pertinent that you contact a Fairfax U visa lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to guide you through the application process and help ensure a successful outcome.

Categorizing a U-Visa

A U visa is categorized as a non-immigrant visa, meaning that it does not lead to permanent status. It is only valid for four years. However, it is a bit of a misnomer because it can, and for most people does, lead to permanent status in the United States through a green card, because after three years of physical presence in the United States in U visa status, a person can apply for their green card. A seasoned Fairfax U visa lawyer can aid an individual in beginning the U visa application process.

Yearly Quota

There is a 10,000 U visa quota on the number of visas that are issued per year. Once that quota is hit, individuals who have approved U visas will receive a provisional approval by USCIS stating that they can apply for work authorization, but they are in deferred action status. They will be officially in U visa status until the visa number becomes available. As of now, the wait is about two years for people after they have received the provisional approval because of that 10,000 cap.

The Vermont Service Center of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS is in charge of all of the adjudication of the U visa application and specifically, it is the VAWA Service Center at the Vermont or the VAWA unit of the Vermont Service Center.

Creation of the U-Visa

The intention of Congress passing the U visa legislation, which falls under the large umbrella of the Violence Against Women Act, is to encourage undocumented communities with a lot of undocumented individuals to not have fear of cooperating in investigations and prosecutions of crimes especially when they have been victimized.

Because there was a big problem, and continues to be a big problem, of undocumented individuals who are afraid to have any contact with any kind of law enforcement agencies even if they have just been the victims, the U visa legislation was created. Because undocumented individuals are afraid that their undocumented status will lead to immigration problems or to them being removed from the United States, they have been scared in the past to come forward with information. This legislature was meant to change that.

Eligibility Requirements

A person needs to be present in the United States when they were the alleged victim of one of the qualifying crimes, for which there is a long list enumerated under the U visa statute. These are general federal descriptions of the crime. Once a person is the victim of a crime, then they need to cooperate with the police and/or the prosecutors if it goes to a prosecution. A Fairfax U visa attorney can help an individual understand the specific crimes listed underneath this statute.

In many cases, that can mean just calling the police, and in some cases, it can mean going to testify at trial or cooperating with any kind of investigative agency regarding the crime. This depends on what kind of crime it was but it requires that, at the very least, an individual report to some sort of investigative agency.

There are other requirements as well. An individual needs to prove that they suffered substantial harm as a result of the crime and the victimization, and needs to prove that they are otherwise admissible to the United States. If an individual has other grounds of inadmissibility, or if they have a criminal record, a prior order of deportation, or if they entered the country unlawfully and then left again, it could trigger one of the three-year tenure bar. This will require the individual to file a waiver of inadmissibility on USCIS Form I-192. It is a good option for a lot of people who are otherwise inadmissible.

An experienced Fairfax U visa attorney can aid an individual in determining the best course of action based on the particular circumstances surrounding their case.

Reported Crimes

There is a long list of crimes that qualify under the U visa statute, but they are general descriptions of crimes because the U visa is adjudicated under federal law. These are crimes like felonious assault, sexual assault, human trafficking or a number of other qualifying crimes.

The key is that a person needs to evaluate the crime that they have been the victim of on the state level. An individual will need to determine what statute was involved on the state level and then make the argument to USCIS that it could have been charged under the federal definition of the qualifying crime.

Unreported Crimes

Many of these crimes go unreported. It is very common for undocumented individuals to not call the police even when they have been a victim and they are not at fault because they are afraid that any contact with law enforcement agencies is going to put them at risk of deportation. It is important that those individuals are educated in the fact that reporting a crime does not always put the victim at risk of deportation.

However, this is not always true because there are some police departments that have very tight relationships with ICE and will do everything they can to report undocumented persons in the United States. For the most part, the U visa is a way to ensure that people will be protected if they call to report crimes. An experienced Fairfax U visa lawyer can assist an individual in understanding the process of reporting crimes to the police.

Points of Note

The most important thing to know when applying for a U visa is that a person absolutely needs to have reported the crime to the police department in order to qualify, at the very least. A lot of people have been victims of qualifying crimes but they never called the police. That is the first step and the most important thing because the main goal of the U visa is to encourage cooperation and collaboration with police and prosecutors. A U visa lawyer in Fairfax can aid an individual in determining the appropriate steps to take in their U visa process.

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