Victims of certain crimes may be eligible to remain in the United States with a special visa. Family members of the victim may also be able to obtain such a visa.
To qualify, the crime victim must assist law enforcement officials in the prosecution or investigation of human trafficking or other designated criminal activity. Proving that an individual meets the requirements for this type of visa can be challenging, so many people find it beneficial to talk to an immigration lawyer before seeking Bolingbrook visas for victims of crimes. Reach out to an experienced attorney today.
Information on U and T Visas
The U.S. government issues U visas to victims of specified crimes who have suffered mental and physical abuse. Additionally, the government provides T visas to victims of a severe form of human trafficking.
Both visas are temporary, nonimmigrant visas, but the holders are eligible for employment authorization and certain government benefits. Moreover, someone with a T or U visa may be able to seek an adjustment of status and become a lawful permanent resident with a green card.
Issuing Bolingbrook visas to crime victims serves a practical purpose as well as a humanitarian one. Before receiving a visa, crime victims must assist law enforcement officials, and this enhances officials’ ability to prosecute and stop offenders and protect potential victims in the future.
Requirements for U Visa
To receive a U visa, individuals must be able to demonstrate that they have been victimized by criminal activity of a certain type as designated by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (22 U.S.C. §7101 et. Seq.) A partial list of qualifying crimes includes:
- Sexual assault and incest
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment/unlawful criminal restraint
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting
- Felonious assault
The criminal activity must have caused “substantial” mental or physical abuse to make an individual eligible for a U visa. In addition, the crime is required to have either occurred in the U.S. or have violated U.S. law.
In addition to suffering from criminal activity, the individual must also have information about the crime and be able to share that information with law enforcement officials. If the victim is disabled or under the age of 16, someone may provide that information on the young victim’s behalf.
Requirements for a T Visa
T visas are available to victims of what U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) refers to as “a severe form of trafficking.” This type of trafficking includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
Sex trafficking involves recruiting, transporting, soliciting, patronizing or harboring a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. The person victimized must either be under the age of 18 or be induced to participate by force, fraud, or coercion.
Labor trafficking occurs when someone uses fraud, force, or coercion to procure the victim for labor in involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage or slavery. Visas for victims of crime in Bolingbrook could protect vulnerable individuals who have been exploited for labor, sex, or both if they are in the U.S. due to trafficking and comply with requests for help from law enforcement officials.
Help with Bolingbrook Visas for Victims of Crimes
Those who are eligible for a visa because of their status as crime victims must be prepared to demonstrate their qualifications, including their ability to assist with investigation and prosecution of criminal activity. An immigration attorney could help establish eligibility for one of these visas.
Bolingbrook visas for victims of crimes can provide aid and protection for crime victims while also helping to reduce crime in the future. Applicants seeking a T or U visa do not need to pay a fee but will need to file an application including a personal statement explaining the criminal activity at issue.