If you are a victim of a criminal activity in the United States, there’s a special type of visa to enable you to stay longer in the States. During this period, your case will be investigated, and your offenders will undergo prosecution. In light of this, we’ll answer the question, what is a U Visa? and your other related concerns.
A U Visa is a US visa that grants nonimmigrant status to victims of specific crimes, allowing them to stay up to four years in the United States. It was created in October 2000 to enable law enforcement agencies to investigate various cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. A U Visa also protects victims of such crimes after suffering psychological and physical abuse.
Here’s a list of crimes whose victims are eligible for a U Visa:
- Felonious assault
- Abusive sexual contact
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting
- Involuntary servitude
- False imprisonment
- Sexual exploitation
- Domestic violence
- Unlawful criminal restraint
- Female genital mutilation
- Obstruction of justice
- Slave trade
- Sexual assault
- Witness tampering
Be aware that crimes related to the ones mentioned above are also eligible, including attempts and conspiracies.
How Do I Qualify For A U Visa?
To qualify for a U Nonimmigrant Visa, you must;
- Be a victim of a criminal activity that caused physical and psychological abuse.
- Have information about the crime. But if you’re below 16 years old or unable to support the investigation with information, your parent, guardian, or friend may help provide relevant information about the incident.
- Be helpful to law enforcement agencies in investigating the crime or prosecuting the offenders.
- Be admissible to the US. Supposing you are inadmissible, you may waive this requirement by filling out the Form I-192.
- Above all, the crime must have violated US laws or have occurred in the United States.
Documents Required for a U Visa
To get a US U Visa, you need the following documents without any exception:
- A filled-out Form I-918
- Form I-918B Certification, signed by an authorized official in a law enforcement agency
- A completed Form I-192 (Only required if you’re inadmissible to the US)
- A personal statement to recount a crime of which you were a victim
- Proof of meeting each eligibility criteria
How Long Does It Take To Get The U Visa?
It takes 12 to 18 months to process a U Visa at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, you can stay in the United States for four years. However, you can extend its duration in specific circumstances. These include when the US law enforcement agencies needed more time to investigate your case.
What is the Approval Rate for the U Visa?
US U Visa applications have an approval rate of about 87%. With this high success rate, you can be sure that USICS will most likely grant your nonimmigrant status.
Find out more about U Visa for Victims of Criminal Activity.
How Can I Speed Up My U Visa?
You can request the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to fasten your U Visa processing by calling its Contact Center at +1 (800) 375-5283. Alternatively, you can ask “Emma” to help you with the expedited process after receiving your receipt notice. Emma is an AI programmed to help with various requests on USCIS’s website. It is accessible via the Ask Emma icon at the top-right corner of the website.