Other Legal Services
What is a U Visa?
If you were the victim of a crime and if you can help law enforcement investigate and/or prosecute that crime, you may be eligible to file for a U visa. The U visa is for victims of certain crimes that have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. Enacted by Congress in 2000, U visas are meant to help strengthen law enforcements ability to investigate and prosecute certain crimes that effect the immigrant community by encouraging immigrant victims to come forward, report the crimes, and assist in the investigation and prosecution of the crime without the fear of being deported. This tool also helps foster a relationship of cooperation with the immigrant community and law enforcement officials. A U visa can last for up to four years and may be extended under certain circumstances.
The U visa gives the applicant lawful immigration status in the U.S., and the ability to work and to apply for a Social Security number. It is only valid for 4 years, but after 3 years the applicant becomes eligible to apply for Legal Permanent Residency, or a “green card.”
Is the U Visa Difficult to Get?
The most difficult step of obtaining the U Visa is convincing the certifying official to sign the U Visa Supplement, and a good U Visa Lawyer will spend time researching who to send the Supplement to and following up with persistency to get a final result. Further, your Miami U Visa Attorney will go the extra mile to ensure that your application is thorough and your supporting evidence is solid to give you the best chance at approval.
Crimes That Could Qualify for a U Visa
Victims of the following crimes may be eligible for a U non-immigrant visa:
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Felonious Assault
- Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trade
- Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Other Related Crimes
Please note that the final item on the U visa list, “Other Related Crimes” means that there are crimes (such as aggravated robbery and even occasionally simple assault) can, in some cases, qualify for U visa status.
To be eligible for a U visa, you must prove the following:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity.
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States.
Note: If you meet the above eligibility but are not currently in the United States, you may still apply for a U visa.
What is a U Visa Attorney?
A U Visa attorney understands the complex emotions and stress associated with these types of application processes, and can help clients to ensure that they go through the correct steps needed to file a successful application.
What is the process to apply for a U Visa with a lawyer?
1. Hire a lawyer
The first step is to find the right lawyer. The best option is to search for U Visa attorneys near you who have positive reviews on various platforms online, and then schedule a consultation to speak with that lawyer. U visa Lawyers are NOT all the same, and even if they say they are offering the same service, the quality of what you get at the “cheapest” law firm will not be the same as what you can get at an experienced attorney's office, who also has positive reviews by previous clients. Spend some time researching, and once you have found the U Visa Lawyer with the best reviews who has the experience to help you with your case, go ahead and schedule a consultation with them. Most U Visa Lawyers charge a fee for the consultation, but ask them if they are able to apply this fee towards your U Visa case.
2. Give Proper Paperwork to Lawyer to Obtain U Visa Supplement
Make sure you give all the documentation you have on the crime, specifically the police report and or any court documents, for the lawyer to request the U Visa Supplement to be signed by the law enforcement official. This step is crucial in qualifying for the U visa, so do not withhold any information about the case from your U Visa attorney.
3. Fill out questionnaire for Lawyer, Gather Evidence from Checklist, and Write Personal Statement
After the U Visa Supplement is Signed, your U Visa Lawyer will send you a Questionnaire and a Checklist of evidence to gather for the case. Fill out the Questionnaire as fast as possible and start gathering evidence from the lawyer's checklist for your U Visa case. If you were not physically injured, your U Visa attorney may recommend you see an Immigration Psychologist to document how you were psychologically affected by the victimization incident. Further, you will need to write a personal statement that explains in detail what happened in the crime, including dates and details, and how it affected you emotionally, physically and psychologically. A good U Visa attorney will provide you with a sample letter if you request it, so do not be afraid to ask for help with this letter. Once you have drafted your statement, make sure your U Visa lawyer reviews your letter and gives you feedback on any changes before you sign and notarize your personal statement.
4. U Visa Waivers
If you entered the country illegally, overstayed your visa, or committed any sort of immigration violation or crime, you will need a U Visa Waiver. Your U Visa Attorney will advise you whether to file it at the same time as your application or wait for immigration to request it, considering the U visa does not have a filing fee but the waiver case has an expensive fee.
However, it is important to note that this waiver is one of the most expansive waivers in all of immigration law, and it can even help a person receive forgiveness for immigration offenses that are otherwise unforgivable!
5. A Path to a Green Card
Although the U visa lasts 4 years, after 3 years with the U visa, a person who qualifies can file for a Green Card! Ask you U Visa Lawyer if you qualify.
How can a U Visa Attorney help?
The Miami U Visa attorneys at our firm are here to help those who have been the victims of crimes. We understand the complex emotions and stress associated with these types of application processes, and we can help clients to ensure that they go through the correct steps needed to file a successful application.
Hire the Top U Visa Lawyers in Miami, Florida!
Now that you know why having an experienced U Visa Lawyer is necessary, it’s time to hire one at Immigration Lawyers USA! We have some of the best immigration Lawyers in Miami, Florida and in the United States. We're highly experienced in U visa law and will fight hard to make your case as strong as possible with our close attention to detail and our over 10 years of experience. If you're looking for a firm with great reviews that can guide you through the process, give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or schedule a consultation here.