As part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act, Congress created the U visa, or U nonimmigrant status. A U visa is a nonimmigrant visa that entitles certain individuals temporary legal status and work privileges in the U.S. for up to four years. The purpose of a U visa is to protect and provide at least temporary refuge to the victims of certain crimes that occurred in the U.S., in a U.S. territory, or in violation of U.S. law. In order to qualify for a U visa, the crime victim must have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of criminal activity that falls under one particular classification of criminal offenses, which include the following:

  • Rape, incest, sexual assault, or abusive sexual contact
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Domestic violence
  • Prostitution or sexual exploitation
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Being held hostage, enslaved, or subject to involuntary servitude
  • Kidnapping or abduction
  • Manslaughter, murder, or felonious assault
  • Witness tampering, obstruction of justice, or perjury

A crime victim who is seeking relief from a U visa also must have information that can assist government officials and cooperate with local law enforcement authorities in order to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of the crime. In fact, a petition for a U visa must be certified by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, such as a prosecutor or judge who was involved in the investigation of the crime or the prosecution of individuals responsible for the crime. An individual seeking U nonimmigrant status typically should be admissible to the U.S. However, there is a method by which an individual can seek a waiver of admissibility in order to obtain a U visa. An individual can apply for a U visa whether he or she is in the U.S. or outside the U.S. Individuals who believe that they qualify for a U visa need an experienced California immigration attorney who can assist you with this often complex process. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we know how to stand up for the rights of those who are legally entitled to remain in the U.S. Call us today at (510) 756-4468 and schedule an appointment with one of our deportation defense lawyers, and learn how we can assist you.