Frequently Asked Questions on U Visa

What is a U visa?
A U visa is a non-immigrant visa category for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Who is eligible for a U visa?
Individuals who have been the victims of qualifying crimes, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes listed in the U visa regulations, may be eligible for a U visa if they meet certain criteria, including cooperation with law enforcement.
What are the benefits of a U visa?
U visa holders are granted temporary legal status in the United States, including employment authorization, access to public benefits, and protection from deportation. After three years of continuous presence in the U.S. on a U visa, individuals may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card).
Can family members accompany the U visa holder to the U.S.?
Yes, certain family members of U visa holders, including spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18, may be eligible to apply for derivative U visas to accompany the principal applicant to the U.S.
How long does it take to process a U visa application?
Processing times for U visa applications can vary depending on factors such as the volume of applications, the complexity of the case, and the availability of resources at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Generally, it can take several years for a U visa application to be processed.
Do I need a law enforcement certification to apply for a U visa?
Yes, one of the requirements for a U visa application is obtaining a certification from a law enforcement agency confirming that you have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Can I apply for a U visa if I am undocumented or have a prior criminal record?
Yes, individuals who are undocumented or have a prior criminal record may still be eligible for a U visa if they meet the eligibility criteria and can demonstrate that they meet the requirements for a waiver of any grounds of inadmissibility.
Is there a cap on the number of U visas issued each year?
Yes, there is a statutory cap of 10,000 U visas issued each fiscal year. However, certain individuals who are unable to obtain a U visa due to the cap may be eligible for deferred action or other forms of relief while they wait for a visa to become available.
Can I work in the United States on a U visa?
Yes, U visa holders are eligible for employment authorization in the United States and may work for any employer of their choosing.
What is the process for obtaining a U visa?
The process for obtaining a U visa involves several steps, including gathering documentation of the crime and its impact, obtaining a law enforcement certification, preparing and submitting the U visa application to USCIS, attending a biometrics appointment, and attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate if required.


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