Montgomery County U-Visa Immigration Lawyer

People who immigrate to the United States come here expecting to find a better life. Unfortunately, many immigrants fall victim to violent crimes, either at the hands of someone they love or by a complete stranger. If you were victimized while in this country, a Montgomery County U-visa immigration lawyer may be able to help you stay in the United States permanently. To get started on your case, consult with a knowledgeable attorney today.

What is a U-Visa?

A U-visa is a type of visa that benefits the victims of certain crimes that occurred while that person was within the United States. Congress created this visa as part of the federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act passed in 2000. The U-visa is meant to protect the victims of crimes while allowing the victim to stay in America and assist law enforcement in the prosecution of their abusers.

Not all crime victims can apply for a U-visa. While the list of crimes that make a person eligible for a U-visa is lengthy, most qualifying crimes are serious offenses of a violent nature against another person.

For example, the victims of sex crimes like rape, incest, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution, and sex trafficking are eligible to apply for a U-visa. So are people subject to slavery or involuntary servitude as well as victims of assault, domestic violence, torture, false imprisonment, or other related crimes.

A crime victim who wants to apply for a U-visa must first obtain a U Nonimmigrant Status Certification (Form I-918, Supplement B), which evidences the victims helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This document is signed by a law enforcement agency like a police department or a prosecutor’s office and certifies that the petitioner was or is being helpful and assisting in the prosecution of the underlying criminal case. Without a criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency, a crime victim will not be able to apply for a U-visa.

A U-visa is different than asylum protection. Asylum protects people who are being persecuted while living outside of the United States by their government, or by a group that their government cannot control based upon the applicant’s race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

A U-visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means that a U-visa holder does not immediately receive permanent residency or U.S. citizenship as a result of that visa. Instead, the U-visa holder can apply for residency or citizenship once they meet the requisite conditions. Currently, U-visa holders must maintain their status for three years before applying for a Green Card and obtaining residency.

How to Apply for a U-Visa

The first step in obtaining a U-visa is to report a qualifying crime to a law enforcement agency. Without evidence of an actual crime, there can be no evidence of helpfulness like the law requires. For example, if a woman was abused by her husband while in the United States, she may qualify for a U-visa.

However, if she never reports the abuse and if her husband is never arrested, she will not be able to show the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the requisite Certification proving her helpfulness.

After reporting a qualifying crime, the petitioner will need to gather multiple documents to complete the application, including police reports, restraining orders, other legal paperwork, and evidence of good character.

Once a petitioner has the necessary proof to show that they were the victim of a serious crime while in this country, the petitioner or their Montgomery County U-visa immigration lawyer would prepare the application and file and write a letter or memorandum explaining why the petitioner qualifies for and should be granted a U-visa.

Let a Montgomery County Immigration Attorney with U-Visa Experience Assist You

An immigration attorney can review your situation and determine if you have been the victim of any qualifying crimes. Many people do not realize that something negative that happened to them can make them eligible for a U-visa.

Assistance from an immigration lawyer can be invaluable in putting together the strongest case with the best chance of being approved. If you were the victim of a crime, don’t lose your opportunity to apply for a visa. Report any crimes to the authorities and contact a Montgomery County U-visa immigration lawyer for help.