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  • Writer's pictureOlia Catala

U VISA: what you need to know

A U Visa is a great pathway to citizenship for those who may not have any other immigration avenue available to them. These visas are granted to those who can prove that they were victims of a “qualifying crime,” helped law enforcement in investigating this crime, and suffered either psychological or physical injuries during the commission of this crime.

To apply for the U nonimmigrant visa, you must first obtain certification from a law

enforcement agency (Form I-918: Supplement B). Once this is accomplished, you may move forward to the second step of the process, which is filing your packet with USCIS. This packet will contain your entire Form I-918, the certifying agent’s signature, evidence of the harm that you had suffered, evidence of your helpfulness to the law enforcement agency, and of course the statute of the crime to show that it fits the criteria of the “qualifying crime.”

Parents, spouses, and children of U Visa qualifying nonimmigrants may also be eligible for the visa under a derivative category. However, each derivative relative needs to be evaluated for eligibility to insure proper filing.

If you have an inadmissibility issue, you may be eligible to file Form I-192 (Application for

Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant). Some of the more common inadmissibility issues concern past criminal history and unlawful entry into the country. In many instances, USCIS would waive these problematic issues, and allow you to adjust your status when the time comes.

Once the U Visa is granted, you will be given lawful immigrant status in the United States for four years. After the third year as a U Visa holder, you may adjust your status to obtain a green card through the filing of Form I-485.

The U Visa process is quite complex, and an experienced attorney is extremely beneficial to the Applicant.

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