In 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act created a new type of visa that protects victims of violence who may not have immigrant status. Known as a U visa, this visa type may be available for people who have been the victim of a crime and are willing to help law enforcement in an investigation.
If you receive a U visa, you will be able to live in the United States legally for up to four years. During that time, you may also get permission to work, and you may get U visas for some family members. In Colorado, you may also be eligible for certain benefits.
Am I eligible for a U visa?
To be eligible for a U visa, you must have experienced a crime in the U.S. that caused you significant physical or mental harm. Examples include domestic violence, sexual assault, forced prostitution, kidnapping and blackmail. You must also provide useful information to law enforcement officers investigating the crime.
Can I apply for a U visa if I have broken the law?
If you are in the U.S. illegally or have committed a crime that would prevent you from becoming a citizen, you may still be able to get a U visa. To do so, you must complete a waiver that explains any crimes that you have committed, including immigration violations. It is important to be completely honest when filling out this waiver to prevent possible problems in the future, especially if you plan to travel outside the country and return.
What documents do I need to apply for a U visa?
When applying, you will need to complete Form I-918, the main application document, and Form I-918 Supplement B, which shows that you helped in the criminal investigation. You may need to fill out a waiver explaining any crimes you have committed. You must also provide a personal statement that describes the crime in your own words, a cover letter and documentation of your identity, such as a birth certificate.