If you are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States and have experienced substantial harm as a direct result of someone else’s criminal activity, you may be eligible for a special category of immigration permit called a U visa. These powerful authorizations are meant to protect victims of serious offenses from further mistreatment. However, the process of pursuing a U visa can be far from simple, especially if you are unfamiliar with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) rules and regulations.
Obtaining a U visa in Naperville is generally simplified with assistance from a dedicated attorney who has helped individuals in similar situations. Regardless of what type of criminal behavior impacted you, a skilled U visa representative could work tirelessly to protect your security and integrity.
The U Visa Application Process
Not everyone is eligible to apply for a U visa. These permits are reserved for individuals who experienced significant physical or mental abuse caused by qualifying criminal activity and who, if given the opportunity, could help U.S.-based law enforcement authorities investigate, arrest, and prosecute the individual who committed the crime in question.
Once someone establishes that he or she is eligible for the permit, he or she must submit various forms and documents to apply, including but not limited to:
- Form I-918
- A personal statement detailing how the qualifying criminal activity in question caused physical and mental harm to the applicant
- Identifying documents and anything else necessary to establish admissibility, potentially including a Form I-192 inadmissibility waiver
- Supplement B of Form I-918, having been signed by an authorized official of the law enforcement agency responsible for certifying that the applicant helped investigative or prosecutorial efforts
Meanwhile, an applicant who wants to bring qualifying family members with him or her to the United States may do so by listing these relatives on Supplement A of Form I-918. Finally, an individual younger than 21 can seek a U visa on behalf of his or her parents, unmarried siblings, spouse, or children, while an immigrant older than 21 can only petition on behalf of his or her spouse or children.
A detail-oriented attorney in Naperville could help you navigate all stages of the complex U visa application process to obtain the permit you need.
What Rights Do U Visa Recipients Have?
Once someone acquires a U visa, he or she can maintain lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States for a maximum of four years after his or her application is first approved. Generally, a U visa recipient cannot seek extensions of his or her nonimmigrant status after this four-year period passes, but there are exceptions under limited circumstances. For example, USCIS might grant someone a longer period of protection if law enforcement specifically requests a U visa exception for someone still actively helping with a case, or if there are substantial consular processing delays during the application process.
Additionally, a qualifying U visa applicant is eligible for work authorization upon receiving his or her visa, and if granted, that authorization will last for the entire time that the permit remains valid. In the interest of mitigating the impact of lengthy processing delays, USCIS also recently instituted a policy of exercising reasonable discretion for “bona fide” U visa applicants by allowing these immigrants to seek work authorization while an application is still pending.
Finally, people who remain in the U.S. through U visas for three continuous years and have fulfilled all visa-related requirements when it comes to assisting law enforcement may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status and become lawful permanent residents. If you have obtained a U visa, a hardworking attorney in Naperville could help you explore this possibility for yourself.
Speak With an Attorney about Obtaining a U Visa in Naperville
Since there are a limited number of U visas available each year, it is especially important for anyone seeking one of these impactful immigration authorizations to ensure his or her application is carefully constructed and free of mistakes.
When it comes to obtaining a U visa in Naperville, a seasoned lawyer could be an essential ally. A skilled attorney could demonstrate how the crime you experienced impacted your life and help you resolve any complications that arise during the application process. Call today to schedule your initial appointment.