U nonimmigrant status (U Visa) is a path towards permanent residence for victims or witnesses of certain crimes who have suffered harm and can help with the investigation or prosecution of that criminal activity.
You may be eligible for a U Visa if:
- You were the victim of or witnessed a qualifying criminal activity in the United States
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental harm as a result of being a victim or witness of the crime
- You have information about the crime and are willing to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime
You may include family members in you U Visa application.
- If you are over 21, you can include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
- If you are under 21, you can include your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 at the time Form I-918 is received by USCIS.
It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility and to assist you with this complicated process.
Request the mandatory law enforcement certification — Form I-918 Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification — which attests to the individual’s willingness to cooperate in an investigation or prosecution of the crime — from a certifying agency:
- Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies
- Federal, State and Local Prosecutors’ offices
- Federal, State and Local Judges (NOTE: Judges are usually reluctant to certify)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Federal and State Department of Labor
- Other Investigative Agencies
After receiving a U Visa certification, file Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status with all required supporting documentation:
- a personal statement describing that the individual is a victim of a crime that occurred in the U.S. (or in violation of U.S. law)
- description of the criminal act
- the physical and mental harm/abuse suffered as a result of the criminal act
- past efforts or future willingness to assist law enforcement
- additional supporting documentation, which can include pictures and recordings of physical injury, police reports, affidavits from witnesses, and other applicable material
Individuals who entered the country unlawfully can request a waiver of inadmissibility by filing Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant.
Form I-192 has a filing fee, but a fee waiver may be requested.
Only 10,000 U Visas are granted a year. The current waiting period for a U Visa is approximately four (4) years.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Resource Guide
Women’s Law Center — Guidance for Applying for a U Visa
National Immigrant Justice Center — Guidance for applying for a U Visa