Powers Immigration Law

U Visas

What is a U Visa? The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Who is eligible for a U Visa? To be eligible for a U visa, the victim of a qualifying crime generally must have information concerning that criminal activity and provide assistance to law enforcement. (See below for what is a qualifying crime.) (S)he must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity. (S)he must have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

What is a qualifying crime? Qualifying criminal activity is defined as being an activity involving one or more activities that violate U.S. criminal law, including abduction, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, felonious assault, involuntary servitude, obstruction of justice, prostitution, and rape to name a few.

Can family members of an individual who is granted a U visa also receive a visa? Family members, under certain circumstances, receive a visa. The individual who is eligible for the U visa must petition on behalf of his or her family members.  If the individual is under the age of 21, (s)he may petition for his/her spouse, children, parents and unmarried siblings who are under the age of 18. If the individual is age 21 or older, (s)he may petition for his/her spouse and children if the application is received before the child turns 21.

How long does a U Visa last? U nonimmigrant status cannot exceed four years. However, extensions are available upon certification by a certifying agency that the foreign national's presence in the United States is required to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity. After three years, the U visa holder may apply for lawful permanent residence. To be eligible for a green card, the individual must not have reasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since receiving his or her U visa. Additionally, the U visa holder’s continued presence in the United States must be justified on humanitarian grounds to ensure continuation of a cohesive family or must be in the national or public interest.

How many U Visas are granted? USCIS may grant no more than 10,000 U visas every year. This caps is on the number of principal applicants and does not apply to the number of dependents (e.g. spouse, children, etc.)

 The pages of this website provide general information about immigration processes and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions specific to your case, to schedule a consultation, please call immigration attorney Tanya Powers at (704) 556-1156 for the Charlotte office, (828) 394-1196 for the Hickory office, or click here.

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Powers Immigration Law ("the Law Office") maintains this website to provide general information about the firm and the services it provides to its clients.  The information contained on this website is not intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied on as a substitute for seeking legal counsel.   The Law Office does not seek to enter into an attorney-client relationship with any reader of its on-line content.  An attorney-client relationship with the firm can only be formed based on personal consultation with an attorney, followed by a determination that the Law Office is willing and able to accept such representation.

Powers Immigration Law ♦ tanya.powers@tmpowerslaw.com

520 8th Street NE ♦ Hickory, NC 28601 ♦ (828) 394-1196

5200 Park Road, Suite 221 ♦ Charlotte, NC 28209  ♦ (704) 556-1156