Being a victim of violence is an overwhelming event for anyone to deal with. Now imagine having to go through pain and healing, all while being afraid that you might be deported because you are not a U.S. Citizen. In the Fall of 2000, the U.S. Government developed enhanced regulations to enable victims of crimes to stay in the United States and not fear deportation because their undocumented status had been discovered. How You Can Qualify for a U-Visa:
- You are the victim of criminal activity –The government has published an extensive list describing the events that would qualify you for a U-Visa. They span violent and psychological crimes and provide for your safety if you have experienced any of them. It is important to look at the police report made to see whether your criminal activity may qualify.
- You were helpful in the investigation or the prosecution of the crime – To be eligible for a U-visa you must be willing to assist law enforcement with information about the crime, and the police department or law enforcement agency must certify that you were helpful to their investigation or prosecution. Anyone who has information but is under the age of 16 is allowed to have a representative communicate on their behalf, but would still remain eligible for the visa.
- You are admissible and the crime happened in the U.S. – These two qualifiers are important, first and foremost because if the crime happened overseas, you wouldn’t be eligible for a U.S. visa. You must also be admissible, meaning your record is free from any crime, fraud or immigration violation. There are also waivers available if you have inadmissibility issues.
Applying for A U-Visa The process for obtaining a U-Visa is relatively straightforward. There is a petition to fill out, as well as a personal statement describing the crime and your involvement. It’s the government’s intention to provide this documentation as a way to help bring criminals to justice, not as a way to weed out and punish those who are in the country illegally. Do not let the fear of being deported prevent you from speaking out against your aggressors. Being the victim of a crime is serious, and you deserve the same amount of protection and justice as anyone else in the country. Make sure that you protect yourself by applying for the U-Visa and being cooperative in the investigation. Depending on the situation, your family members may also be eligible for a U-Visa status. If you have been the victim of a crime, do not live in silence. Contact Landerholm Immigration today for assistance with your situation.