U Visas: What Are They?

 

In 2007, USCIS finally published the regulations for these types of visas. This provision was a result of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act from 2000. Each year there are 10,000 visas available in this category. The purpose of these visas is to give law enforcement agencies the ability to investigate and prosecute certain types of crimes. Such crimes include domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and more. The victims are given protection. This visa is available to those who are victims of certain serious crimes who have cooperated with authorities to prosecute the perpetrator. If granted, the immigrant receives employment authorization for several years then can apply for permanent residency.

Those who entered the country without inspection or have overstayed their visas are eligible for this benefit.

The following crimes qualify for the U visa:

  • Incest
  • Rape
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Sexual Assault
  • Blackmail
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Domestic Violence
  • Manslaughter
  • Slave Trade
  • Extortion
  • Murder
  • Torture
  • False Imprisonment
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Trafficking
  • Felonious Assault
  • Peonage
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Perjury
  • Witness Tampering
  • Hostage
  • Prostitution
  • Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes

The process for completing the U visas application is quite complex and often results in requests for additional evidence which, if not responded properly, can result in denials. A qualified immigration attorney should be consulted concerning this types of cases.

Contact our Clearwater office at 727.712.2299 or Tampa office at 813.279.6180 to discuss your immigration case today.