U Visa Frequently Asked Questions: Clear Your Doubts

While the U visa is an important immigration benefit, certain recurring doubts inevitably arise and are repeated in almost every case. Therefore, together with the experts at Urbina Immigration Law, we will answer some of the U visa frequently asked questions.

U Visa Frequently Asked Questions: How can you help me?

As we said, even though it is an important visa, there are some frequently asked questions about the U visa. One of them is how you can help a migrant who has been the victim of a crime. Its main benefits are:

  • Legal protection in the United States.
  • Protection against deportation while your U visa is being processed.
  • Employment authorization.
  • Possibility to apply for permanent residence.
  • Right to apply for visas for qualifying family members.
  • Access to certain public benefits and social programs.
  • Option to travel outside the United States with special permission.
Urbina Immigration Law Services in Georgia pexels pixabay 45842 1 - Urbina Immigration Law.
The U visa is a great legal aid for immigrants who were victims of certain crimes.

At Urbina Immigration Law, our professional attorneys can help you obtain a U visa and its benefits. Don’t risk your status by navigating the immigration system on your own. Tell us your case and take the first step towards your U visa.

Is it possible to obtain permanent residency with a U Visa?

One of the frequently asked questions about the U visa is about the possibility of using it as a pathway to permanent residency. The answer is that it is possible to obtain permanent permanent residency with your U. However, it must also comply with the following requirements:

  • Maintain U nonimmigrant status and be physically present in the United States for at least three years from the approval of your U visa.
  • To have cooperated with the authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime of which he/she was a victim.
  • Not have any cause for inadmissibility in the United States.
  • Be in a qualifying family, employment, or humanitarian relationship for change of status to permanent resident.
  • File Form I-485 and pay the appropriate fees to apply for residency.

At Urbina Law Firm our attorneys can help you learn about each of these requirements, accompanying you throughout the residency application process. Don’t tackle the complex immigration system on your own. Tell us your case and let’s start working for your right to a better life in the United States.

What is the U Visa waiting time 2023?

Another frequently asked question about the U visa is the waiting time for processing. This can take 4 to 5 years, but may be extended due to the number of applications, annual visa availability, and other factors.

Waiting time to process a U visa application can take years.
Waiting time to process a U visa application can take years.

In addition, there may be other delays in processing due to errors in application submission or missing documentation. However, an immigration attorney can help you avoid these kinds of delays. Contact our attorneys at Urbina Immigration Law and avoid unwanted delays.

Can the U visa be denied?

Another frequently asked question about the U visa is whether it can be denied. Despite protection for victims of certain crimes, an application for a U visa can be denied. Some of the most common reasons you may be denied this visa are:

  • Insufficient documentation: Lack of evidence demonstrating victimization in qualifying crimes.
  • Inadmissibility: Criminal history or immigration violations.
  • Lack of cooperation with authorities: Insufficient collaboration in investigations.

A criminal record is one of the most common reasons for denial of a U visa. However, some crimes can be forgiven through an immigration waiver. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact an attorney today and  get the forgiveness you need.

What crimes qualify for the U Visa?

As mentioned above, this visa protects victims of certain crimes. However, another frequently asked question about the U visa is what kind of offenses it covers. In the following table you will find the crimes classified for the U visa:

U Visa Qualifying Offenses
StalkingAssault with a weaponSexual assault
MurderBlackmailAbusive sexual content
Illegal DetentionSexual exploitationExtortion
Fraud in the hiring of foreign laborKidnappingInvoluntary servitude
Hostage takingTortureForced labor
Slave tradeHuman traffickingRape
Domestic ViolenceInvoluntary manslaughterIncest
Witness tamperingFemale genital mutilationObstruction of justice

It is important to have the help of a professional attorney to find out if the crime you were a victim of applies for a U visa. At Urbina Immigration Law, our professionals are committed to giving you the legal advice and support you need. Contact us today and get the legal help you need.

What crimes does the U Visa pardon?

Another frequently asked question about the U visa is whether it forgives crimes that the applicant may have committed. The answer is yes, there are some crimes that the U visa forgives. Among them are:

  • Unlawful Presence: Forgives unlawful presence in the U.S., allowing U visa applications even with long periods of unlawful presence.
  • Deportation: Offers waivers of removal orders, allowing previously deported persons to qualify for a U visa under certain criteria.
  • Immigration Violations: Forgive simple immigration offenses such as document fraud, impersonating a citizen or returning after a voluntary departure.
  • Misdemeanors: Pardons most misdemeanor criminal convictions, offering a viable option for victims of crimes with criminal records.
There are certain crimes that the U visa forgives
There are certain crimes that the U visa forgives

These crimes can be pardoned through the U Visa, allowing victims to qualify for this immigration benefit. Our attorneys at Urbina Immigration Law can assist you and guide you through the process. Contact us today and get the legal advice you need.

Can I travel outside the U.S. with an approved U visa?

The possibility of travel is another of the frequently asked questions about the U visa. It is possible to travel abroad with an approved U visa and a valid passport. However, you must follow the following requirements and procedures to do so:

  • Obtain travel authorization: If you plan to travel outside the U.S. on a U visa, you will need to obtain prior travel authorization from USCIS and wait for approval before leaving the country. Also known as “Advance Parole”, this authorization is issued in emergency or humanitarian situations
  • Maintaining your legal status: Although the U visa allows you to leave the country, it is crucial to maintain your legal status. This means that, if your U visa expires while you are outside the U.S., you may face difficulties returning and may be denied entry into the country.
  • Notify USCIS of address changes: If you plan to travel outside the United States, it is necessary to inform USCIS of any changes in your address or contact information. This allows USCIS to send you relevant information or updates about your case while you are away.

The U visa can be useful for travel outside the country. However, the process is complex and following the steps correctly is crucial. Therefore, it is advisable to seek help from an immigration attorney. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Talk to a lawyer and start your procedure in a legal and safe way.

What do I do if my legal status changes while I am outside the United States?

If your legal status changes while outside the country, you should document the change, inform USCIS, and seek consular advice. It is important that you carefully plan your return, making sure you meet the requirements for legal re-entry. Remember that illegal reentry without the proper visa is a crime.

I was an indirect victim of a crime, can I apply for a U Visa?

Another frequently asked question about the U visa is about the status of indirect victims of qualifying crimes. By this, the authorities refer to those persons who have been significantly affected by a crime due to the victimization of a close loved one.

In these cases, the direct victim will be the visa applicant, while the indirect victim would enter as a kind of joint beneficiary. For this, evidence such as police reports, witness statements, court records, etc. must be submitted.

If I have a U Visa, can I get married?

This is also one of the most frequently asked questions about the U visa. The immediate answer is that you can get married on a U visa. It is even possible to add your partner to your visa process, as long as you do so before your visa is officially approved.

However, there are certain cases in which getting married could compromise your legal status as a U nonimmigrant. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to analyze your case and advise you on the best course of legal action.

What is the U Visa deferred action?

Deferred action is a temporary protection against deportation granted to U Visa applicants, allowing them to live and work legally in the country while their application is being processed. However, it does not provide permanent status and must be renewed every two years if the application is still pending.

What is a “bona fide” U Visa determination?

La Determinación Bona Fide (o de Buena Fe) es una política de USCIS para agilizar la protección a víctimas de delitos que buscan la Visa U. Esta agiliza el proceso de obtención de la autorización de trabajo y el estatus de Acción Diferida para Visa U, ofreciendo ayuda y seguridad a esas personas de manera más eficiente.

The Bona Fide Determination is a USCIS policy to expedite protection for victims of crime seeking the U Visa. It streamlines the process of obtaining work permit and Deferred Action for U Visa status, providing relief and security to those individuals in a more efficient manner.

As we have seen, although the U visa is an essential immigration benefit for victims of crime, the process is far from easy. There are many issues that any applicant must take into account and doubts do not take long to appear. For this reason, the help of an immigration attorney is essential. 

He has not only the ability to guide you through every step of the application process, but also the knowledge to choose the best option for your case. Don’t let the complex immigration system overwhelm you. At Urbina Immigration Law our attorneys are prepared to assist you. Contact us today and take the first step towards legal status in the United States.


USCIS – Victims of Criminal Acts: U Nonimmigrant Status

USCIS – Adjustment of Status

Other resources

Complete guide to the U Visa: What is it and how to apply?

Can the U visa be denied?: Tips for success

Types of crimes that qualify for the U Visa: What are they?

U Visa Benefits: Which crimes are pardonable and which are not

U Visa Bona Fide Determination Process: Eligible Applications and Benefits

Deferred Action for U Visa: A Guide for Victims of Crime

U Visa Work Permit in the U.S.: How to apply for it

U Visa for Indirect Victims of Crime: How should I apply?

How to obtain legal permanent residence after obtaining a U visa?

Can I travel outside the U.S. if my U visa application is approved?

Guide for beneficiaries: If I have a U Visa, can I get married?

What is the U visa? How can you help me?