What Is a U Visa?

Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa category through the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.  The purpose of the act was to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, while also protecting the victims of such crimes who have suffered from mental and physical abuse and are willing to cooperate with American law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of the criminal activity.

In order to qualify for a U visa, an alien must be the victim of a qualifying crime committed in the United States, and must be helpful to authorities in the investigation of the crime.  The alien may also petition for derivative U status for spouses, children, and unmarried siblings less than 21 years of age, as well as spouses and children over the age of 21.  Every year, there are 10,000 visas /statuses available.  A U visa is given a maximum duration of status of 4 years.  There is no filing fee for U non-immigrant status.

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