Virginia U Visa Considerations

There are several Virginia U Visa considerations those who are applying should take into account, such as the U Visa cap and the process of applying with a criminal history.

Dealing with immigration issues in Virginia can seem overwhelming. However, working with a U Visa attorney can help to ease many of your uncertainties and apprehensions. This is especially important when in the U Visa application process, where there are many considerations to keep in mind.

Length and Extension

A U Visa is valid for four years but after the third year and three years of continuous physical presence in the United States as a U Visa holder, a person is then eligible to apply for a green card. The U Visa cannot be renewed if there is only one period that is authorized, but in some limited cases, a person can extend their U-Visa.

This is particularly useful in situations, for example, when they have a principal applicant who is present in the United States but they are applying for derivative children in foreign countries and there may be a delay in the consular processing to allow the foreign children to physically enter the United States. They may not be present for this three-year that is required before the U Visa application expires because the duration of the U Visa is tied to the principal applicant’s case.

In some cases like this where someone entered past the date of when the U Visa status was granted, they may need to apply for an extension in order to accrue the three years of physical presence in the United States that they need in order to apply for a green card. In order to go over the various considerations of extension of the U Visa in Virginia, a person apply should consult an immigration attorney.

U Visa Cap

There is a statutory cap of 10,000 U Visas that are allowed to be issued by the United States government each year. When that cap is hit, it means that everybody else who gets approved after those visas have been issued for the year or the visas have run out for the year will be put in a queue.

The waitlist is at an average of two years. That means that someone’s application is adjudicated by the Vermont Service Center, and if a U Visa number is not available at that time, they will send a letter that states their intent to approve the application. That is a provisional approval and with that, someone can apply for a work authorization and they will be placed into deferred action status while they await the issuances of the new visas, which occurs at the beginning of the fiscal year in October.

Benefits

The U Visa is a great benefit if someone has other grounds of inadmissibility, prior orders of removal, or other immigration violations on their record and are not eligible for other types of immigration benefits. It is a good status that will last for four years and lead to a green card which and thus a permanent status in the United States, and once someone is a green card holder, five years after they have obtained that lawful permanent resident status, they can apply for their citizenship.

Applying for a U Visa with a Criminal History

The U Visa contains one of the largest and most comprehensive waivers in immigration law. There are many crimes that may make someone ineligible for any other kind of immigration benefit which they can obtain a waiver for through the U Visa. The waiver is filed on a form I-192 and it can include all sorts of criminal activity and immigration violations. However, the approval or denial of the waiver is a discretionary decision made by USCIS. If someone has a serious criminal record that involves domestic violence or any kind of violent crime, it can be difficult to get a U Visa approved. Someone would need a heavy amount of positive discretionary evidence to outweigh the negative factors in their case.

Having a criminal history could hurt someone’s chance of obtaining a U Visa, but most crimes do not statutorily prohibit someone from receiving a U Visa. There are many types of criminal records that would render a person inadmissible which would require them to file the Form I-192. There is a long list of criminal conduct that can render an individual inadmissible but, particularly crimes involving moral turpitude will make an individual inadmissible. An immigration attorney will be able to help someone understand the varying considerations of the U Visa with a criminal history in Virginia.

Inadmissible Crimes

Many violent crimes and crimes involving domestic violence will also make people inadmissible. Someone would need to contact an immigration attorney if they have any kind of criminal record and are thinking of applying for a U Visa. Then, if an applicant is hoping to apply for a waiver after being deemed inadmissible to the United States because of a criminal record, the documentary requirements will differ with each case and will differ depending on the types of grounds of inadmissibility that they are subject to.