Leesburg U Visa Lawyer

A U visa is a non-immigrant visa that is issued to the victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered either physical or mental trauma because of that crime. These are individuals who are willing to cooperate with prosecutors and law enforcement in the prosecution and the investigation of the criminal activity, trying to find the perpetrator(s) of that crime. The person does not have to have any legal connection to an American citizen. The only thing that is required is that the crime either violated the U.S. law or occurred in the United States. If you want to apply for a U visa, work with a Leesburg U visa lawyer that could guide you through the process. A capable immigration attorney could answer your questions.

Origins of the U Visa

The origin behind the creation of the U visa is that it was created by Congress and included as a provision to the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The U visa was created to incentivize the cooperation of victims who had another form of immigration status, non-immigrant status, or had no status. The idea was to have all members of the community help law enforcement and the government investigate and prosecute crimes, and the victim would be rewarded with a visa.

The USCIS, formally known as United Citizenship and Immigration Services, is responsible for issuing U visas. There is a quota of U visas that USCIS can issue each year, and that number is 10,000.

The Relationship Between the Violence Against Women Act and U Visas

As a Leesburg U visa lawyer could explain, the relationship between the Violence Against Women Act and the U visa is that the U visa is categorized under the umbrella of the Violence Against Women Act. The U visa is a part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection, Act which is an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act. With that being said, the U visa is not available specifically to women. Gender is not relevant in U visa applications.

The benefits of the U visa to the government and law enforcement is that these applicants that are scared of reporting crimes are now more inclined to reporting them to help the investigation and prosecution of these crimes without fearing retaliation from the government with regard to their immigration status.

Eligibility Requirements for a U Visa

The eligibility requirements for a U visa are that the person applying must be a victim of a qualifying crime, and as a result of that qualifying crime, suffered substantial mental or physical abuse. An individual and their Leesburg U visa lawyer have to be able to show that the applicant is willing to be helpful to law enforcement and is able to provide information about the criminal activity for which they were a victim. In addition, the crime either has to have violated U.S. laws or have occurred in the United States.

There are no particular expectations regarding how helpful the victim must be during the investigation. The agency that is investigating that criminal activity, whether it is a local, state, or federal government agency, has to be able to certify that the victim has been a victim of a qualifying crime and is willing to be helpful to law enforcement and the investigation of the crime.

Crimes That Qualify an Individual for a U Visa

There is a list of reported crimes for which an individual is eligible for a U visa. For a list of the qualifying crimes, access www.usics.gov.  There, under the instructions for Form I-918.  the list of qualifying crimes includes such crimes as:

  • Domestic violence
  • Felonious assault
  • False imprisonment
  • Blackmail, abduction
  • Abusive sexual contact
  • Stalking
  • Torture
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Kidnapping

Could These Crimes Be Easily Unreported and Why?

The crimes mentioned above could easily be underreported because of the nature of the crimes. For example, one of the crimes is domestic violence. For those who are either undocumented or under another non-immigrant visa, these crimes go unreported because the victims are often afraid of negative consequences that may arise should they report these crimes to the police or the victim may have a fear of any interaction with the police or other government employees.

There are protections in place to encourage a victim to report the crime. The U visa is a protection that is used to encourage victims to report crimes. There are other visas as well, like T visa, and other protections under VAWA that also encourage victims to report crimes. An individual should consult a U visa lawyer in Leesburg that could help ensure that they are protected.

Information a Leesburg U Visa Attorney Could Share

If an individual is considering applying for a U visa, it is imperative that they work with a Leesburg U visa lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney could share important information with the individual and guide them through the application process. For example, an attorney could explain that if someone is considering applying for a U visa, they have to have an agency sign Form I-918 Supplement B, which is the non-immigration status certification form.  The certification form is completed by either a member of law enforcement or the prosecutor if the case was taken to trial.  The certification affirms that the applicant is the victim to at least one qualifying crime and assisted with the investigation or prosecution. If for some reason there is no police report, no record of the crime, or if the police department or other government agency investigating the crime does not note cooperation from the applicants, it is likely that the U visa will not be signed off by the head of a certified agency, that is why it is important to obtain a certification as soon as possible.