The U visa is a great help for migrants who wish to live in the United States and have been victims of crime. But what are the qualifying crimes for the U visa? What is the evidence needed? In this article we will clarify all these questions.
Don’t face the complex U.S. immigration system alone. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help. We know what you are going through, and that is why we put all our experience and efforts into getting you the visa you need to secure your future.
Table of Contents
What are the qualifying crimes for the U Visa?
We already know that the U visa is intended for all victims of crime who have suffered physical and/or emotional harm and have cooperated with the authorities in their investigation. Now, what are the qualifying crimes for the U visa? If you are a victim of any of these crimes, you may qualify for this type of visa:
– Assault with a weapon
– Sexual Assault
– Abusive sexual content
– Illegal Detention
– Sexual exploitation
– Fraud in the hiring of foreign labor
– Involuntary servitude
– Hostage taking
– Forced labor
– Slave trade
– Human trafficking
– Domestic violence
|– Involuntary manslaughter|
– Witness tampering
– Female genital mutilation
– Obstruction of justice
– Illegal criminal restraint
Please note that if you were a victim of any other criminal activity similar to those on this list you would also be eligible for a U visa. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice and discuss your case with a professional attorney.
How to obtain a U visa?
Once you corroborate that the crime of which you have been a victim is among those that qualify for a U visa, you must follow the following steps to apply for your visa:
Step 1 – Complete Form I-918 and Supplement B
Step 2 – Write a letter of recommendation
The second step is to draft a letter of recommendation, which you should attach and send with Supplement B of Form I-918. It should include the following information:
– Address (if detained, find an address where documentation can be sent or write “ICE Custody” followed by the address of the detention center).
– Date of birth.
– Details of the crime.
– Their form of cooperation with the authorities.
– Your signature.
Step 3 – Request a bond hearing
If you are detained, once you obtain a Supplement B signed by the officer or prosecutor in charge, you may request a bail hearing. Ask for a bond hearing in front of a judge, making clear to the judge your intention to apply for a U visa.
Step 4 – Complete Form I-192 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant)
If you have committed a crime that makes you inadmissible to the United States, you may apply for Form I-192 to obtain an immigration waiver. Remember that one of the benefits of the U visa is the waiver of certain types of crimes, but not all criminal activity can be pardoned by the immigration authorities.
Step 5 – Write a statement about the event
You are required to include your detailed statement of facts to complete your U visa application. Please note that there will be no hearing or interview, so this will be the only instance in which you will be able to explain what happened.
Step 6 – Search for supporting documentation
You can strengthen your case by submitting certain supporting documentation. We will discuss these documents at a later date, but, in principle, any police reports
or documentation from the health center where you were treated may be helpful.
Step 7 – Submit your application
Once you have all the necessary documentation, send it to USCIS and wait for your visa approval. It is important that you do not leave the country while your application is being processed, as this could be counterproductive. Remember that the U visa grants deferred action which provides, among other things, a defense against deportation while your application is being processed.
The U visa application process can be lengthy and complex. Don’t face it alone. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you obtain the visa you need to secure your future in the United States. Contact us today and let’s defend your rights together.
What evidence do I need to apply for a U Visa?
As mentioned above, the U visa is only granted to victims of certain qualifying crimes who have cooperated with the authorities in their investigation. We will now look at some examples of documents that you can submit as evidence and what each of them consists of. Keep in mind that it is always advisable to keep all documents that you consider indispensable and talk to a lawyer to make sure that they can be used as evidence in your favor.
Supplement B to Form I-918
As mentioned above, Supplement B to Form I-918 serves as evidence of your cooperation with the authorities in the investigation of the crime. You will only need to complete the first part of the form, in which you must include the following information:
- Last name.
- Date of birth.
As mentioned above, the U visa application does not include a hearing or interview.and, therefore, the personal statement written in English about the crime he suffered is the single instance you will have to defend your case and demonstrate that meets all requirements to be granted this visa.
This document can help you explain possible gaps in your history and any details that may seem strange to the authorities. In addition, you can use your statement to explain and support answers given on other forms. Below you will find a table with the questions you must answer in your declaration:
|Questions to answer|
|About You||– What is your full name?|
– What is your date of birth?
– What is your place of birth?
|– When and how did you come to the United States?|
– Why did you come to the United States
|About Crime||– What crime were you a victim of?|
– Who committed the crime?
– Did the crime occur once or repeatedly?
|– When and where did the crime occur?|
– How did it happen?
– Were there witnesses?
|On the damage caused by the crime||– How did the crime affect you?|
– Were you physically and/or psychologically injured?
– How badly was he injured?
– If he was sick, did the crime worsen his condition – was he able to recover?
|– Did you take any medication?|
– Did you consult with a physician and/or therapist?
– If you did not seek help, why?
– Did anyone else know he was injured?
– If you suffered domestic violence, was it for a period of time? If so, please explain.
|On its cooperation with the authorities||– Did the authorities come?|
– Did you call the police? If the answer is no, explain why you did not do so.
– Were you afraid to call the police?
– Did you file a report with the authorities?
– Were the charges against your offender dropped?
|– Did you explain to the authorities who committed the crime?|
– Did the police help you in any other way?
– Were any arrests made?
– Was there a trial?
– Was your victimizer convicted?
|About the reasons why you deserve a waiver (if your case merits it)||– Why do you need a waiver?|
– Did you commit a crime or violate immigration laws?
– Why did you break the law?
– Do you regret having done so?
– Has your life changed since then?
– Did you resort to the use of drugs to endure the abuse you suffered?
|– How will you avoid breaking the law in the future?|
– Were you incarcerated or given probation?
– Do you have family in the United States? How would it affect them if you have to leave the country?
Remember that this document is the only instance to defend your case. Therefore, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to draft your statement. Do not face this process alone, at Urbina Immigration Law we can help you.
A copy of the police reports may also serve as evidence to obtain a U visa. When the police investigate the crime of which you were a victim, a police report is written containing the following information:
- Your name.
- The name of the suspects.
- The name of the witnesses.
- A description of the event.
- Recording of testimonies.
- The number of the police report, which will help identify the crime
This report is kept on file with the police department and serves as proof that a crime was committed, as well as proof of your cooperation with the authorities in their investigation and the damages you suffered.
If the police have charged someone for the crime of which he or she was a victim, then there will be court records of the case. These serve as evidence for your U visa application, as they include relevant case information and evidence of the following:
- That a crime was perpetrated against him.
- Who was the defendant.
- What were the charges.
- Whether the perpetrators of the crime were tried.
- Whether any guilty plea was entered for the crime.
Please note that both court records and police reports can be helpful, but they are not essential documentation for filing a U visa application, so do not despair if you do not have them.
Letters from doctors and mental health professionals
When reviewing your U visa application, the authorities will look for evidence of physical and/or mental harm caused by the crime. For this reason, having a letter from doctors or mental health professionals showing that you suffered emotional and/or physical injuries can be extremely helpful.
Other documentation that may serve as proof of this are copies of your medical records, which contain your medical history and treatment received. Again, remember that this is useful but not essential documentation for filing a U visa application.
Letters from friends, family and community members
The testimony of the people who saw or heard what happened to you can also be used as evidence for your U visa application. Letters from friends, family, and community members can be used to prove not only the existence of the crime but also the harm it caused you. In addition, this documentation can help you if you need a waiver because of crimes or violations of immigration laws that you have committed. Please note that they must be submitted in English.
Other tests for the U visa application
Other documents that can function as proof of what happened are those that have to do with evidence of the crime and your cooperation with the authorities. Among them, it may present:
- Photos of his injuries.
- Restraining orders, sometimes called protective orders.
- 911 call log.
- Newspaper articles describing the crime.
How long will it take for my U visa application to be approved?
The approval time for a U visa application varies depending on the number of applications received and can take years. However, the authorities generally take between 6 and 9 months to decide on your petition.
Note that the U visa grants deferred action, providing you with benefits such as work authorization and protection from deportation while the authorities decide on your case.
Do I have to submit all documentation in English?
Yes, it is extremely important that you submit all documentation in English. If you cannot write in English, you can write the documents in your native language and ask someone to translate them. However, in some cases, you may be required to have it done by a certified translator.
How long should my personal statement be?
It is not necessary for your statement to be extremely lengthy. What is essential is that explain what happened as clearly and in as much detail as possible.the company’s damage suffered and the the manner in which he cooperated with the authorities in the investigation of the crime, as well as the reasons why you need a waiver (if your case warrants it).
What to do when the authorities ask for more information?
The authorities may consider the information and/or documentation submitted to be insufficient and may require you to provide further information in order to make a decision. In these cases, a request for evidence will be sent to you along with a deadline for your response.
How much does it cost to file a U visa application?
No fee is required to file a U visa application, although individuals who must apply for an immigration waiver will be required to pay a fee for filing a U visa application. However, those who are unable to pay the fee may request a cancellation of this fee by filing the Form I-912.
Submitting your U visa application with professional help
As we have seen, gathering all this documentation and writing a statement of facts is a challenge for anyone suffering the consequences of a crime. Therefore, seeking professional help is essential when submitting a U visa application.
You are not alone. At Urbina Immigration Law we have a team of professionals who know what you are going through and will put all their experience and dedication to get you the visa you need to secure your stay in the United States. Contact us today and let’s fight together for your right to a better tomorrow.