U visas are powerful immigration permits that provide protection to individuals who suffered from severe crimes while inside the U.S. Unfortunately, pursuing a U visa can be an intimidating and complicated process. On top of working with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the person or people who harmed you, you will also need to contend with the lengthy and multi-stage application process established by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Additionally, the agency only makes a limited quantity of these permits available each year.
Fortunately, our compassionate attorneys have experience handling these cases and could help with obtaining a U visa in Aurora. A dedicated legal representative could outline your rights as the victim of a serious crime and help prevent future harm.
Requirements when Applying for a U Visa?
There are three major components of a valid U visa application:
- Proof of physical or mental harm sustained due to qualifying criminal activity
- Certification that the applicant assisted or will assist law enforcement with investigative or prosecutorial efforts
- Confirmation that the foreign national is admissible to the United States as a nonimmigrant alien
The victim of a severe crime typically attaches proof of his or her physical and mental harm through a personal statement included with Form I-918, which serves as the official U visa petition.
Meanwhile, certification of cooperation with law enforcement usually requires an applicant to submit Supplement B of Form I-918 with a signature from an official representative of the police department or federal agency he or she helped. An applicant under 16 or with substantial cognitive or intellectual disabilities can have his or her parents, guardians, or friends assist him or her with this step.
Finally, proving admissibility to the United States requires an applicant to show that he or she has no history of serious criminal convictions or violations of immigration policies. If a foreign national is inadmissible under current federal law, he or she must seek and receive a waiver through Form I-192 before applying for a U Visa.
A tenacious attorney in Aurora could assess your situation and the crime that affected you to determine whether you are eligible to obtain a U visa.
How Long Does It Take to Get a U Visa?
USCIS only issues a maximum of 10,000 U visas per year, which means many applicants end up waiting for multiple years for a permit to become available. Fortunately, a recent change to USCIS policy in June 2021 established a “Bona Fide Determination” process that allows a qualifying applicant who has completed biometrics screening to receive deferred action or work authorization while his or her application awaits approval.
Once someone obtains a U visa, the permit remains valid for four years and generally cannot be extended. However, sometimes USCIS will make an exception to this rule based on extensive consular processing delays or requests from law enforcement for additional assistance from the visa recipient.
Even though acquiring one of these permits can be time consuming, a diligent lawyer in Aurora could work hard to keep proceedings associated with acquiring a U visa as streamlined as possible.
Discuss Obtaining a U Visa with an Aurora Attorney
While U visas do not provide lawful permanent resident status, they do allow victims of criminal activity to seek short-term refuge in the United States and potentially seek adjustment of status at a later date. Acquiring this visa in the first place can become sufficiently challenging, but a legal representative could provide valuable assistance.
If you were affected by a traumatic criminal experience and want to escape future suffering, you should speak with an attorney about obtaining a U visa in Aurora. Contact the office today to get started on your case.