If you are a non-citizen living in the United States and you were the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for immigration benefits. Such victims can file their own petition and request a U visa to live legally in the United States. U visas are usually granted for four years and U visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent resident status.
In order to establish eligibility for a U visa, you must show :
- That you are the victim of a crime;
- That you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime;
- That you have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Some notes about U visas :
- You are not required to be in any legal immigration status to apply for a U visa.
- If you are granted a U visa you will be given employment authorization (work permit).
- If you are over 21 years old, you can include your spouse and/or children in your U visa application, and if your application is approved, your spouse and/or children will also receive U visas.
- If you are under 21 years old, you can include your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 in your U visa application.
Victims of domestic violence may be eligible for U visas. If you have been abused by your spouse or someone you are living with, please see our Victims of Domestic Violence section because you may be eligible for other immigration benefits.