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What is a U-visa and can it apply to me?

     If you are new to the world of immigration and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or even if you find yourself somewhat of a veteran on the matters, each new visa, sponsorship and application you look at, has different qualifications and requirements to meet. In this instance we will delve into what the U-visa entails!

  • What is a U-visa?
    • The U-visa is a very unique type of visa. It is given out to individuals with very special circumstances. The official name stands for Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status, and is specifically defined by USCIS as “victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation.” (you can read more directly from the USCIS website, linked at the bottom of the page)* This refers to criminal activities you have found yourself a victim of. Some examples of this could include a hostage situation, abduction, stalking, trafficking, blackmail and more. Most any situation that has left a person mentally or physically debilitated, and if afterwards they have made an effort to help law enforcement or government officials with the ongoing investigation, you could potentially qualify for a U-visa. These of course, are just a couple of examples (for a full list please visit the link at the bottom of the page.)
  • Who can file?
    • There are specific eligibility guidelines outlined on the USCIS website for anyone that wants more information on the specific qualifications regarding the U-visa. What qualifies for this type of visa, entirely varies from one individual case to another. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, you can consult with our experienced immigration attorney and have them assess your particular situation to determine if a U-visa could be something applied in your case. It is vital to file for a visa that directly applies to your specific situation, especially since the U-visa does have a limit on the number of visas available for each year.
  • Submitting the petition:
    • Like every sponsorship, application, and case, you need to be able to supply your claim with all necessary information and proof. This can turn into a lengthy and grueling process, and it is all to ensure that the visa is properly given out to law-abiding individuals, confronted with unfortunate situations. The best way to ensure you are filing your best case with the immigration services, is of course, to retain a practiced immigration lawyer. Immigration attorneys are most knowledgeable in the immigration system and it is at least recommended to consult with a lawyer prior to filing any sort of paperwork.

     So, why is it a good idea to consult with and consider retaining legal counsel? If you are unsure how to proceed, the smartest thing to do is to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Even a quick conversation with qualified immigration legal counsel can prove the most beneficial for your case, especially if you are new to the world of immigration services and U-visas. If you would like to schedule a consultation with our immigration lawyer you can contact our office online by submitting a Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky (egmlegal.com) or by directly calling our office at (317) 743-7958.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.

*Useful links and references:

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-of-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status

“Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status.” USCIS, 20 Mar. 2023, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-of-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status.

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