If an immigrant has been the victim of a crime in the United States, he or she may be eligible for a temporary immigration status called a “U-Visa.” A “U-Visa” is a benefit that the U.S. government offers individuals for cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of a crime where he or she was the victim in the past or has recently been a victim. Only victims of certain crimes qualify for the U-Visa, however. Normally, the U-Visa applicant has to prove that he or she has been a victim of some sort of crime of physical or emotional abuse. For example, if someone steals your car while you are sleeping and you call the police, such cooperation will not likely be enough for you to be eligible for a U-Visa, because you have not really been the victim of physical or emotional abuse. But if you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime such as sexual assault, domestic violence, or felonious assault, he or she will likely eligible.
How to be helpful
The victim/applicant for a U-Visa simply has to prove that he or she “has been, is being, or will likely be helpful” in an investigation. It is important to note that the applicant’s “assistance” or “cooperation” with law enforcement does not need to result in the criminal going to jail or even going to court. The U-Visa applicant’s cooperation can be as simple as calling the police, giving an honest statement about what happened to the police or to a prosecutor, or allowing photographs to be taken of him or her. The U-Visa is a wonderful, truly excellent immigration benefit. Additionally, if someone applies for a U-Visa but has had other problems in the past (for example, unlawful presence in the U.S., or if the applicant has been deported before) the applicant may be eligible for a “waiver” of those problems if he or she is found eligible for a U-Visa. In fact, the U-Visa can “waive” many different kinds of immigration-related problems. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime in the United States, please do not hesitate to call us today to discuss your case.
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