Essentials of U Nonimmigrant Visas

One of the most powerful tools a person can use to adjust their residency status in the U.S. is the so-called “U visa.” The U visa – which is short for “U nonimmigrant visa” – enables eligible persons to eventually convert their status to a permanent resident (i.e. Green Card). However, U visas have an unusual set of requirements. In this post, we will go over the various legal requirements which must be met in order to initially acquire the status as a U visa holder. Then, we will discuss the procedure involved in converting a person’s status as a U visa holder to a permanent resident

  • Legal Requirements & Qualifying Crimes

U nonimmigrant visas allow undocumented persons to remain in the U.S. when they are victims of certain crimes. The U.S. government created this status in order to better crackdown on criminals. U nonimmigrant visa holders work closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate and ultimately prosecute perpetrators of certain crimes. Hence, one of the requirements for conversion to a Green Card is the pledge to actively assist U.S. law enforcement personnel.

In total, there are 6 requirements which must be met to acquire U visa status:

(1) The holder must be a victim of one of the qualifying crimes

(2) The holder must have suffered substantial harm as a consequence of the crime

(3) The holder must possess information about the crime which occurred

(4) The holder must be helpful in the investigation of the crime at every stage

(5) The crime itself must have occurred in the U.S. or violated existing U.S. law

(6) The holder must be admissible to the U.S., or apply for a waiver if inadmissible

The list of “qualifying crimes” is quite long. Here are a few examples of the types of crimes which appear on the list: abduction, blackmail, domestic violence, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, murder, rape, torture, prostitution, and so forth.

  • Adjustment Procedure: Helpfulness Certification & Other Steps

As mentioned, after a person acquires the U visa status, that person may eventually be able to convert this status to permanent residency in the U.S. But, the person must follow an established procedure in order to do so. One of the things that a U visa holder must do is file a certification of helpfulness, or Form I-918, Supplement B. This document certifies that the person has been helpful and will continue to be helpful in the investigation of the underlying criminal activity.

In order to file for permanent residency, the U visa holder must maintain the status for 3 years. During this 3 year period, the holder must continuously live within the boundaries of the U.S.

After this period, the holder is eligible to apply for a Green Card (using form I-485). In addition to the normal Green Card paperwork, the U visa holder will also be required to submit several other types of documentation. For instance, the holder will need to submit a medical report, a birth certificate, copies of passports, a self-affidavit, evidence to demonstrate the fulfillment of the 3 year occupancy requirement, and others as well.

  • Spouses, Children, Parents & Siblings

Another important thing that U visa holders should be aware of is the fact that certain family members may also be eligible for this status. Spouses, children, parents and (minor) siblings of the U visa holder may obtain U visa status.

  • Key Points of U Nonimmigrant Visas

Clearly, U visa is a rather uncommon type of status for someone to hold. This isn’t a status which a person can “seek out,” but is simply a positive side effect which accompanies the unfortunate occurrence of a crime. But this status is certainly something that people should be aware of, and something which should be utilized under the right circumstances. One of the primary benefits of this status is that a person can use this status to overcome prior deportations. In fact, this status can even overcome a prior criminal activity (depending on the specifics).

  • Contact New Frontier Immigration Law for More Info

This is just an introduction to the issue of U visa status. To learn more, reach out to New Frontier Immigration Law today by calling 623-742-5400.


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New Frontier Immigration Law

New Frontier understand there is a lot in the news guiding people to be fearful of undocumented immigrants. Fear from the community causes your family to fear more. We understand this, and we want to help.

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