A U visa and a T visa both grant legal status to foreigners who have been victimized. However, there are several key differences between these visa types that will determine which you are eligible to pursue. In general, U visas are granted to those who were victimized in being brought to the U.S., while T visas can be applied for by those who suffered a crime while in the country.
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we can help you pursue the visa you need to stay in the country temporarily and potentially apply for permanent residency. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our immigration lawyers in Phoenix, AZ.
How a U Visa and T Visa Differ
U visas and T visas are both granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide those who have been the victim of a crime with legal status in the United States. However, the types of crimes they were subjected to differ and determine which visa applies to which type of case.
Defining a U Visa
A U visa is granted to victims of certain crimes who endured mental or physical abuse. In some cases, witnesses to these crimes can also qualify for a U visa. When a victim chooses to cooperate with law enforcement, they can qualify for a U visa to remain in the country and help the police build their case.
The U visa provides an opportunity for eligible victims of crimes to report offenses they suffered or witnessed without fear, regardless of their legal status. You may qualify to file for a U visa if you meet the following conditions:
- You were the victim of a qualifying crime.
- You endured physical or mental harm related to the crime.
- You have information that can be used to help law enforcement investigate or prosecute the crime.
- The crime was committed in the United States in violation of local, state, or federal laws.
- You are admissible to the U.S. or apply and are approved for a waiver by filing Form I-192: Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
Qualifying crimes for U visa eligibility include but are not limited to:
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual assault
- Genital mutilation
- Domestic violence
- Involuntary servitude
- False imprisonment
- Obstruction of justice
A U visa immigration lawyer in Phoenix can help you determine your eligibility and assist you in pursuing a visa.
Defining a T Visa
A T visa is available to undocumented victims of human trafficking. To qualify for a T visa, the following must be true:
- You are now or were previously the victim of severe human trafficking (either sex trafficking or labor trafficking)
- You are currently physically present in the United States., the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or at a port of entry into the country as the result of trafficking
- Can prove that you would endure severe hardship or harm if removed from the U.S.
- You are admissible to the United States
- You have entered into an agreement with law enforcement to assist with the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking
A T visa immigration lawyer in Phoenix can help you determine your eligibility and assist you in pursuing a visa.
For a free legal consultation, call (623) 742-5400
Similarities Between U Visas and T Visas
While the crimes faced by applicants may differ, the responsibilities and benefits for those who have been granted one of these visas are nearly identical. Those applying for either of these visa types are expected to help law enforcement bring justice to the perpetrators of the crimes they endured.
Benefits for T Visa and U Visa Recipients
With both visa types, you will receive temporary immigration status with work authorization for a validity period of four years. In addition to being able to safely live and work in the United States, visa holders will also have a path to lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship if they want it.
Furthermore, visas can also be applied for and obtained by close family members. Your family members will receive the same rights and protections under a derivative U or T visa.
After three years in the country with either visa type, you will be eligible to apply for a green card and permanent resident status. If you become a permanent resident, you will be on the path to citizenship if you desire it. In most cases, you will be able to apply for citizenship after five years of permanent residency.
Reach Out to an Experienced Phoenix Immigration Attorney Today
If you have been the victim of a crime, an immigration lawyer in Phoenix can help you determine your eligibility to apply for a T or U visa. At New Frontier Immigration Law, we have helped countless people secure legal status in the United States through U and T visas. We can help you through the entire process and give you the best chance of being approved.
Contact us today by completing our online contact form or giving us a call and get started on your case with a free case review with a member of our team.