Victims of Crimes in Fairfax U Visa Cases

The main type of visa that an individual who is the victim of a crime can obtain in the U.S. is the U visa. This is because it is the broadest when it comes to the largest variety of criminal activity.

However, there are some others available specifically for victims of domestic abuse which is the VAWA application. It is named after the Violence Against Women Act and it is available to people who are victims of domestic violence or domestic abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident spouse. There is a more limited category of people who are eligible for it, and it is only for domestic violence victims.

There are different categories of visas that an individual can apply for after they have been the victim of a crime in Fairfax. To learn more about beginning the application process, an individual should contact an experienced lawyer.

Types of Visas

There is also the T-Visa which is available to the victims of human trafficking and the asylum application which is available to people who have been persecuted, but the victimization on those cases needs to have occurred in a person’s home country, not in the United States.

Obtaining a Visa

To obtain a U visa, the application needs to be filed with the Vermont Service Center on Form I-918 and a person needs to obtain the U visa certification prior to filing. For other applications, like the VAWA application, it is still filed at the Vermont Service Center but there are a number of other requirements.

For instance, an individual needs to prove that they had a bonafide relationship with the abuser and that the abuser was a U.S. citizen. This is a completely different application process.

Eligibility Requirements

To become eligible for a U visa, an individual needs to be a victim of one of the qualifying crimes in Fairfax. Further, the individual needs to be in an undocumented or in another non-permanent status when they are the victim, and cannot be a legal permanent resident if they are applying for a U visa. An individual needs to have been helpful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal offense to be eligible.

Potential for Deportation

An individual should not be afraid of being placed in deportation proceedings if they are denied a visa. Only in situations when there is a serious underlying criminal record of the applicant should a person have any hesitation in applying, because the policy of USCIS right now is that they will not refer denied cases to ICE for any form of legal proceeding.

Qualifying Criminal Activities

There are a long list of qualifying crimes for which an individual needs to have been a victim of in a Fairfax U visa case. These include felonious assault, rape, sexual abuse, incest, and blackmail. There are a number or qualifying crimes, but often the actual criminal activity will not fit exactly under one of the qualifying crimes. An individual needs to make the argument to the state statutes that the crime, if charged in the state law, would have or could have been charged under the federal qualifying crime.

Length of the Process

The process for obtaining a U visa is long. Right now, it takes over a year for the initial adjudication to occur with the Vermont Service Center. Once the initial adjudication occurs and there is a favorable decision on a person’s case, they will be issued a provisional approval which will allow them to apply for a work authorization in deferred action status.

Once the Visa number becomes available, the individual will be issued the actual U-Visa status and then they will be able to apply, three years later, for the green card.

U Visa vs. Asylum Protection

Asylum is completely different than applying for a U visa. In a case of asylum, an individual needs to have been a victim of persecution and have been victimized in their home country and not the United States. Also, it is a very specific type of victimization and not just the victim of a random criminal act.

For asylum, a person needs to have been victimized because of their membership in a particular social group in their country by a government or by an entity that the government cannot or will not control. Asylum deals with a completely different set of requirements than a U visa.

Benefit of an Attorney

An attorney can walk an individual through the entire U visa process, and a lot of times, they are atypical situations. This can help whether a lawyer is arguing that the crime should qualify under the enumerated crimes, whether an individual has truly endured suffering so that they qualify for a U-Visa, or whether they require a complex waiver because of a criminal or immigration background.

There can be challenges when applying for a lot of certifications because some agencies are reluctant to issue them in certain situations. Further, applying for a certification can create an unnecessary sort of arbitrate barriers when obtaining the certification.

An immigration attorney can help advocate for the issuance of the U visa certification on behalf of their client.