The U Visa is designed to provide crime victims with the ability to temporarily stay and work in the United States. A U Visa is a non-immigrant visa that is issued for up to four years. It provides the applicant temporary legal status to stay and work in the U.S. There are only 10,000 U Visas issued each year. Applicants may also include their family members such as their spouse, children, unmarried brothers or sisters under 18 years old, parents, step-parents, and adoptive parents.
The U Visa:
- Provides temporary legal status for up to 4 years
- Automatically grants work eligibility
- Can be used by employer to obtain a Social Security Number
- May include family members in the petition
In order to obtain a U Visa the applicant must file the application along with Form I-918. Certain requirements must be met in order to obtain a U Visa. The applicant must prove that he or she has suffered physical or mental abuse due to criminal activity in one of these areas:
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual assault
- Obstruction of justice
- Kidnapping / Abduction
- Any attempt or conspiracy to commit one of these crimes
The Form I-918 must be filled out and certified by the appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement agency or prosecutor. The petition must include information that will allow the victim to assist in the prosecution of the person who committed the crime. The certification can be withdrawn if the applicant fails to cooperate with law enforcement.