It is common seeing undocumented immigrants being targeted by criminals due to their illegal status. These abusers ignore that non-citizens can seek legal protection under specific immigration laws that may apply to these trying circumstances. Immigrant victims of crimes can seek a temporary legal status with a U-visa. This visa provides a legal status to crime victims that would like to collaborate in the investigation of criminal activity.
What’s the purpose of this visa?
The U Visa has become an amazing resource for law enforcement, especially for illegal immigrants who fear deportation if they report suspicious criminal activity. Undocumented immigrants who assist the police in criminal investigations can request a temporary legal status. These illegal aliens are crucial in the efforts to investigate and prosecute unreported crime.
Crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault are included in the protection. Also, some undocumented immigrants tend to experience crimes related to wage fraud and illegal trafficking. This visa is a great way to stop these crimes and offer protection to the victims. One of the most important protections this visa offers is protection against domestic abuse. Some illegal immigrants are afraid of reporting this category of violence because they are afraid of being deported. Criminals like to take advantage of these unique circumstances and continue the abuse.
Who is eligible for the U Visa?
In order to qualify for this visa, the applicant will have to meet certain requirements such as being the victim of one of these crimes:
- Sexual assault
There are many other types of crimes that may also qualify for protection under a U Visa. You should consult with your Salt Lake City victim visa attorney who can study your circumstances in order to determine if they qualify for receiving protection under a U Visa.
The non-citizen victim needs to file some forms that will help him or her attain the temporary immigration status. Form I-918, for example, can be filed only after obtaining a certification for federal or state law enforcement, including local authorities or anybody else involved in the investigation.
Some things to keep in mind
Family such as spouses, children, and siblings can also file for this petition. Also, the criminal doesn’t have to be a United States citizen in order to report the crime. Victims who are not in a relationship with the abuser or who have been in an abusive relationship with a non-citizen cannot seek protection under VAWA but they may still qualify for a U Visa.
There is a limited amount of U Visas granted every year, therefore, it’s important you hire an attorney that will help you speed up the process. This is an amazing opportunity that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country 4 years and may also seek extensions, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. U Visa holders also qualify for a work permit in the United States. For more information about how you can obtain a U Visa contact our firm and schedule your initial case evaluation with Salt Lake City immigration attorney Gloria Cardenas.