If you have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of certain crimes either committed in the U.S. or crimes that violate U.S. laws, you may be eligible for a U visa. A U visa will allow you to remain in the United States as a "nonimmigrant." If you qualify for this visa and spend three continuous years in the U.S. after receiving it, you may be able to petition for status as a lawful permanent resident.
If you have become a victim of violence, you are not alone. A staggering number of undocumented immigrants are subjected to violence on U.S. soil. To make this already unacceptable situation even more tragic, some entities seek to prey upon undocumented victims of violence. These individuals or organizations lure victims with promises that they can help victims in various ways, but unfortunately these scams leave victims even more victimized. It is therefore important to understand that undocumented victims of violence should seek guidance from licensed attorneys who specialize in immigration law. These attorneys will not only aid victims in applying for U visas properly, they are bound by confidentiality laws so that undocumented individuals need not be afraid when speaking with them.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, victims of violence must meet various requirements in order to qualify for nonimmigrant status. An attorney can explain these requirements in detail and ensure that a victim's U visa application is properly completed and submitted to the government. Please be advised however, that these requirements generally insist that applicants have information about the crime that caused their suffering and that applicants are helpful to law enforcement in either the process of investigating or prosecuting any criminals in question.
Although the U visa process was initially created as a result of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, trafficking victims are not the only potentially qualified applicants for nonimmigrant status. Victims may be connected to crimes as varied as extortion, domestic violence, prostitution, Female Genital Mutilation, witness tampering and stalking.
Please, if you have any questions about U visas, consider speaking with an immigration attorney. Licensed attorneys are bound by confidentiality laws and laws that prevent them from scamming their clients. Speaking with a licensed attorney is a safe way to explore your immigration-related legal options.