In the United States, everyone has the right to be safe and live a life free from violence. In 2000, the U visa was put into place as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. It is meant to help protect non-U.S. citizens who have suffered abuse, sexual assault, involuntary servitude, human trafficking and other serious crimes.
Who is eligible for a U visa?
There are many conditions that one must meet to be obtain a U visa. As mentioned, you must be a victim of a serious crime. In addition, you must have information about the nature and details of the crime. One of the most important requirements for eligibility is that you are willing to cooperate and assist U.S. authorities in the investigation of the crime. It must be clear that you are willing and able to do so. Parents or legal guardians of minors (age 16 or younger) can work with the authorities on behalf of a minor victim. Finally, the crime must have violated the laws of the United States or taken place in the U.S.
It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you establish all of criteria and complete the application forms and process correctly.
Understanding the I-918 form
When you apply for a U visa, you will be required to complete an I-918 form. This form has six basic parts:
- Personal information: This includes your name, phone number, and address as well as birth date, whether or not you are married, passport information and so on.
- Eligibility questions: A series of questions that will determine whether or not you are eligible for a U visa. You must be able to answer yes to the first five of these questions to continue.
- Processing questions: This section addresses whether or not you can be admitted to the U.S. You will answer questions about your past criminal history, your character, memberships and military history.
- Family information: This part includes details about your children and spouse, if applicable.
- Filing for a family member: Part five will need to be completed if you are applying for a qualifying family member such as your child, spouse, parent or sibling.
- Signature and date Finally, you will sign and date the form, and attest to the truthfulness of your statements.
Applying for a U visa can be a difficult and overwhelming. You are not only dealing with immigration, but also with law enforcement, and both have their own requirements. If you or a family member wish to apply for a U visa, your best course of action is to work with an attorney who understands the process and can guide you through it.