U-VISAS/ VAWA /
Immigration Relief for Victims of Crimes
U.S. Immigration Law provides three different visas for victims of crimes who want to stay in or come to the U.S.: U-Visa, VAWA Visa, and T-Visa.
We understand the sensitivity of these cases. Please contact us if you have been a victim of a crime as we can help legalize your status.
Congress created the U – Visa to assist law enforcement in investigating crime. Only 10,000 visas are issued per year. An approval can take many years as there are many more applicants than available visas.
There are three steps to the application process:
The form I-918B must be signed by the police, public prosecutor or judge involved in the criminal case. The certification of the I-918B application proves that a qualifying crime took place, the victim had information helpful to the investigation and was willing to assist law enforcement in its investigation. These are all requirements for an applicant to be eligible.
The I-918B must be submitted with the I-918 to USCIS.
Once approved, the applicant must wait 3 years inside the United States before applying for permanent residency.
The approval of a U-Visa grants the beneficiary: permission to work, a social security number, the right to apply for a driver’s license, and in some cases allows the beneficiary to leave the United States and re-enter legally for emergency reasons.
The victim may include their spouse and children under the age of 21 in their application for a U – Visa. Victims who are minors may include their parents and minor siblings in their applications.
Those applicants with a history of crimes, immigration fraud or falsely claiming to be a United States citizen may be disqualified.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a law that protects men and women against violence by a spouse. Congress passed this law to protect undocumented immigrants who endure dangerous relationships in the hopes of receiving legal resident status.
The two-step process requires applicants to first obtain approval of their I-360 VAWA application and then file for adjustment status with the I-485 application. Approval of the I-360 gives the applicant legal status in the United States. Once the I-1360 is approved, spouses of a United States citizen may file an I-485 application to obtain residency. Spouses of lawful permanent residents must wait until their priority date is current.
In order to qualify, the applicant must be married to a United States citizen or Legal Resident. The applicant must also prove they have suffered domestic violence and / or psychological abuse due to their spouse. Proof of the abuse can be: pictures, police reports, criminal court documentation if applicable, orders of protection from the court, written witness statements, medical and / or psychological records, letters of religious counselors.
The applicant should not fear applying as the abuser will not be advised by USCIS that the petition has been filed.
Congress created the T – Visa to assist law enforcement in investigating human trafficking crime. Only 5,000 visas are issued per year. However, this limit has never been met.
Similar to the U-Visa, the approval of a T-Visa grants the beneficiary: permission to work, a social security number, the right to apply for a driver’s license, and in some cases allows the beneficiary to leave the United States and re-enter legally for emergency reasons.
The victim may include their spouse and children under the age of 21 in their application for a T – Visa. Victims who are minors may include their parents and minor siblings in their applications.