U Visa Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona
At the Phoenix Arizona Law office of Ybarra Maldonado, we provide skilled legal help for immigrants seeking all types of visas. As an experienced Phoenix U Visa attorney, we have helped many crime victims determine if they are eligible and obtain U Visas.
If you were the victim of a violent crime and are not a U.S. citizen, you don’t need to fear reporting the crime to law enforcement. Enlist the help of a Phoenix U Visa attorney from Ybarra Maldonado Law Group to help you fight back against your attacker and secure your rights.
What is a U Visa?
A U Visa allows non-citizen victims of crimes who meet certain requirements to stay in the United States. Non-citizen victims of crimes who meet certain requirements may apply for a U Visa. Obtaining a U Visa provides the following benefits:
- You may legally live in the U.S. for 4 years.
- After three years of having a U Visa, you can apply for a Green Card. This will allow you to stay in the U.S. permanently. After receiving a Green Card, you may eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen.
- Permission to work in the U.S.
- Halting any deportation proceedings against the applicant
- Some family members may be eligible to get a U Visa as well.
- In some states, U Visa holders may be eligible for public assistance and benefits
Congress created the U Visa system to allow victims of crimes to call the police and not be afraid of their legal status. It also allows victims to assist as witnesses in investigations and prosecution of the crimes. Before the program started, many victims wanted to report crimes but were too afraid to do so. They were afraid they might get deported. They feared detention by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if their immigrant status was not legal. Without the U Visa provision, criminals could target immigrant populations without fearing consequences. Congress intended for the U Visa program to help victims seek justice for the crimes in which they were victims.
U Visa Eligibility
What are the eligibility requirements for a U Visa?
In order to qualify for a U Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You were the victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
- Because you were a victim of a criminal activity, you suffered physical or mental abuse.
- You have information about the criminal activity. You must be willing to help law enforcement in their investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- The crime committed against you happened in the U.S. or violated U.S. laws.
You are admissible to the U.S. according to current laws. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver.
What are qualifying criminal activities for a U Visa?
Some of the qualifying criminal activity for a U Visa include but are not limited to:
- Abusive Sexual Contact
- Being Held Hostage
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Felonious Assault
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Fraud in Foreign Labor
- Involuntary Servitude
- Obstruction of Justice
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Slave Trade
- Witness Tampering
- Unlawful Criminal
This is not a complete list of all crimes that qualify. A qualifying crime could also include any similar activity. Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these crimes might also count as qualifying criminal activity.
In addition to being the victim of a crime and suffering physical and/or mental damage, you must also be helpful to law enforcement. There are many ways you can be helpful to law enforcement. Calling 911 is one way. Telling police about what happened to you and who did it could also be a way to help law enforcement. Contact us to learn more about qualifying crimes for a U Visa and how to be helpful to law enforcement.
How Do I Apply for a U Visa?
Filling out all of the documentation required for a U Visa is one of the biggest challenges for applicants to overcome. Hiring a Phoenix immigration attorney to help you with your U Visa application will help you make sure you’re submitting all of the required documents and that you meet all of the requirements.
If you are inside the US at the time of the application, you need the following for you application:
- Form I-918
- Petition for U Non-immigrant Status.
- Form I-918, Supplement B
- Certification of Helpfulness. This form requires a signature from law enforcement. It declares you were helpful in the criminal case or that you will be helpful in the future for a successful investigation.
- Personal Statement
- This will describe your situation and the crime you were a victim of. You can also talk about the abuse, pain, and suffering you have gone through.
- Police and/or Court Records
- These will prove you were a victim of a crime.
- Medical records
- Documentation from hospitals and doctors that prove you have suffered physical or mental abuse from the crime.
- This might also include letters, photographs, or affidavits.
- Documents Proving your Identity
- A passport or birth certificate is eligible. They must be translated into English
- Letters from Family Members and Friends
- Testimony from people who know about your pain and suffering can support your application
- This form is also known as the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. It is for foreign nationals who want to travel temporarily to the United States temporarily and for K fiancé visa applicants.
- You must provide a photo that meets US Visa photograph requirements
How Long Does it Take to Get a U Visa?
After submitting your application, USCIS must process it. Processing times vary a lot. Sometimes it can take 12-18 months for the U Visa to be processed and approved. If you are required to submit extra evidence to USCIS, it might take longer.
10,000 U Visas are granted every year. This is no limit to the amount of U Visas for spouses and other eligible family members of crime victims. If 10,000 U Visas have already been granted when you apply, USCIS creates a waiting list for eligible applicants.
If you are on the waiting list, you can’t be deported and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. People on the waiting list receive their visas in the order in which they were received.
Can I Apply for a U Visa if I Have a Criminal Record?
A common question we receive is “Can I apply for a U Visa or am inadmissible to the United States?”
People convicted of felonies or other crimes can be “inadmissible” to the U.S. This means they can’t apply for visas and can be deported if they are in the U.S.
However, just because you are “inadmissible” does not mean you can’t obtain a U Visa. If you are inadmissible, you must fill out the waiver for Form I-192. Form I-192 is an application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant.
You are still eligible to apply for a U-Visa even if you have a deportation order.
Helping Immigrants in Phoenix Obtain U Visas
Every case is different and we customize our services to the needs of each client. We work hard to explore every option for you. Our attorneys help you fill out the correct forms, obtain the right documentation. We can help you stop deportation proceedings against you.
If you are the victim of a crime, we know how traumatic it can be to speak about it. We are here to listen and guide you. Let us help you navigate through the U Visa application process. Contact us today for a free consultation.