Maria Jones Law Firm can help Victims of Criminal Activity through the U-Visa Process
The U-visa process
As per USCIS, the U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.
By law, there are only 10,000 U-visas available every year- meaning that because there are at least 3 times the amount of people applying each year – the wait is very long. Once your case has been submitted, you will receive a receipt notice. The receipt notice is proof that immigration has received your case and you have been placed in the queue. Not hearing anything from immigration for over 2 years is normal. You will not receive anything until immigration begins to process your case. This can take some time. Once immigration has reviewed your case, you will get a letter called “Deferred Action”. “Deferred action” means that you qualify for a U-Visa, but you must keep waiting when until it becomes available. The good news is – while you are waiting for your U-visa approval – you can get a work permit! Once you have received your U-Visa approval, your U-visa status is good for 4 years. After 3 years of holding U-visa status – you may apply for Green Card!
Work permit while waiting on approval
Because U-visas are taking so long to be approved, you can get your work permit once the case has been reviewed by an officer. Once immigration has reviewed your case, you will get a letter called “Deferred Action”. “Deferred action” means that you qualify for a U-visa, but you must keep waiting when until it becomes available. Currently, you can apply for a work permit 2 years after you filed your case with immigration.
Become a permanent resident through the U-Visa Process
Once you have received your U-visa approval, your U-visa status is good for 4 years. After 3 years of holding U-visa status – you may apply for Green Card!!!
U Nonimmigrant Eligibility
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- 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. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
The Phoenix immigration U-Visa attorneys at Maria Jones Law Firm can answer your questions about your U-Visa process and will assist you with all necessary paperwork. Call us today at (602) 603-4032.