U-Visa & VAWA Information
U Nonimmigrant Status (“U Visas”)
U nonimmigrant status, more commonly called the “U visa,” is a temporary status provided to victims of certain crimes in the United States who have suffered a substantial injury from the crime and have been helpful to law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the crime. U status is valid for four years and comes with work authorization. Direct victims can also petition for spouses, children, and, in certain cases, parents and siblings to obtain derivative U status. If those family members are abroad, the U visa can provide a way for the family to be reunited in the United States. All U holders, direct victims and their derivatives, are eligible to apply for legal permanent residency (“green cards”) after holding their U status for three years.
If you have been a victim of a crime and are interested in the U visa, please contact us for a consult. You will have an evaluation with attorney Lauren Grizzard to review your eligibility. Common questions discussed at this evaluation are the following:
- Is the crime one that qualifies you to petition for a U visa?
- Did you suffer a substantial physical or emotional injury?
- Will it be worthwhile to try and obtain a signed I-918 Supplement B certification of your helpfulness from local law enforcement?
- Which family members can you include in a U petition?
- Are you eligible to adjust status to a legal permanent resident from your current U status?
- Will your immigration or criminal history affect your eligibility for a U visa?
VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act. In immigration, a VAWA petition allows a spouse, child, or parent of an abusive U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR) to complete the family-based petition process in the U.S. without the involvement of his or her abusive family member. This process is called “self-petitioning.” The immigrant files a VAWA petition to establish the following:
- his or her bona fide marriage or other family relationship with a U.S. citizen or LPR
- he or she has been battered or suffered extreme cruelty by his or her U.S. citizen or LPR family member
- he or she resided with the abusive U.S. citizen or LPR family member
- he or she is a person of good moral character
Once a VAWA petition is approved, the immigrant may be granted deferred action and work authorization. If and when eligible, an approved VAWA petitioner then files to adjust his or her status to that of a LPR.
If you would like to discuss VAWA further, please contact us for a consult. You will have an evaluation with attorney Lauren Grizzard to review your eligibility. Common questions discussed at this evaluation are the following:
- Do you have a qualifying relationship to your abuser?
- Can you include other family members in your VAWA petition?
- How can you get access to sufficient evidence to prove your case?
- Will your immigration or criminal history affect your eligibility to self-petition or adjust status?
- Are you eligible to adjust status with your approved VAWA petition?