Immigration for Victims of Certain Crimes
If you have been the victim of a certain crime you may be eligible for a U visa. The United States government may grant up to 10,000 foreign nationals who have been victims of certain crimes with U nonimmigrant status. The U visa is not available to all victims of crimes. It is important to discuss with an experienced attorney to inquire whether the crimes that you were a victim of rises to the seriousness required under the law. Additionally, U visa eligibility may depend on the practice of local law enforcement. A current list of qualifying crimes for a U visa is:
- Sexual Assault/Abusive Sexual Contact/Sexual Exploitation/Rape
- Involuntary Servitude
- Kidnapping/False Imprisonment/Hostage/Unlawful Criminal Restraint
- Slave Trade/Trafficking/Prostitution/Female Genital Mutilation
- Witness Tampering
- Felonious Assault
- Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
- Other Related Crimes
A crime that is not specifically listed above may still qualify. Therefore, even if you do not see the crime of which you were a victim listed above it is invaluable to have an experienced immigration attorney evaluate your case for U visa eligibility. You must have also suffered substantial physical or mental abuse. The victim must have also been helpful or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation/prosecution of the crime.
If you qualify for a U visa your spouse and children may apply for derivative status. A parent or unmarried sibling under 18 years of age may also seek derivative status if the principal victims is under 21 years of age.
Attorney Ashley Lively can evaluate whether you are eligible for a U visa and work with local law enforcement to obtain the necessary documentations to submit your U visa application with USCIS.
Victims of Human Trafficking
There are visas available for victims of human trafficking. These visas are known as T-visas. The United States Congress may grant up to 5,000 T-Visas each year. In order to obtain this benefit, victims must assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. You may be eligible for a T visa if you have been the victim of “severe trafficking,” which includes the use of force, fraud, or coercion for sex trafficking or involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. Often times foreign nationals begin their journey to the United States under their own power and circumstances along the journey may result in their eligibility for a T-visa.
If you believe that you qualify for a T visa, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your options.
Once a foreign national has received their T visa it is possible to apply for their legal permanent resident (LPR) status if the following conditions are met:
- Physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least 3 years since the first date of admission as a T-1 nonimmigrant
- Physically present in the United States for a continuous period during the investigation or prosecution of acts of tracking, and the Attorney General has determined the investigation or prosecution is complete, whichever period of time is less
- You have been a person of good moral character since first being admitted as a T-1 nonimmigrant and until the decision on your Form I-485
- You have complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking since first being admitted as a T-1 nonimmigrant and until a decision on your Form I-485 is made
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States
- You are admissible to the United States as a permanent resident.
Attorney Ashley E. Lively understands that you are going through a difficult time, and can advise you whether you are eligible for a T visa. She can assist you to prepare and file your T visa application with USCIS.