A U-visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for victims of certain crimes that occur in the United States. It serves a dual purpose, in that it benefits law enforcement as well as the crime victim. The assailant does not have to be a U.S. citizen nor is any familial relationship required.
To qualify for a U-visa, you must have been the victim of a qualifying crime (usually a serious felony), have suffered some physical or emotional injury as a result of the crime, and be actively (or previously) assisting law enforcement by providing information regarding the crime, testifying in court, or otherwise helping in the arrest and/or conviction of the assailant. Since there must usually be an ongoing investigation or prosecution, it is unlikely that victims of unreported crimes that occurred years ago will qualify. Additionally, a law enforcement officer, district attorney, or another qualifying official must be willing to sign a certification attesting to your past or present cooperation and assistance.
After three years, a U-visa holder is eligible to become a lawful permanent resident.
For more information, reach out to our immigration lawyer in Charlotte today!