U Visa for Victims of Domestic Violence

The U visa and Domestic Violence

At both our San Francisco and our Sacramento offices, we often meet individuals who seek to learn more about the U visa. Some of these individuals are victims of domestic violence. In this post, we will be briefly discussing the U visa generally and, more specifically, the U Visa for victims of domestic violence.In addition to victims of domestic violence, the U Visa is available to individuals who are the victims of crimes that are sexual in nature:

U Visa Qualifying Crimes

  • rape
  • incest
  • sexual assault
  • abusive sexual contact
  • prostitution
  • sexual exploitation
  • female genital mutilation
  • trafficking
  • torture
  • being held hostage
  • peonage (involuntary servitude)
  • slave trade
  • kidnapping, abduction
  • unlawful criminal restraint
  • false imprisonment
  • blackmail
  • extortion
  • felonious assault
  • witness tampering
  • obstruction of justice
  • perjury

In the case of murder or manslaughter, the U visa is also available to:

  • the victim’s spouse
  • unmarried children under 21 years of age

In the case that the victim was under 21 years of age, the victim’s parents and minor siblings (under 18 years old) may benefit from the U Visa. (Further discussion of familial benefits for the relatives of U Visa recipients will be reserved for another post.)

Only victims of the aforementioned crimes can seek a U Visa

So, for example, if you were the victim of a burglary, you are probably not eligible for a U Visa. You may still choose to contact one of our offices to discuss the availability of other immigration relief.

In addition to the requirement of one of the specific aforementioned crimes, in order to receive the benefit of the U Visa you must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse, you must possess information concerning the crime, and a government official investigating or prosecuting the crime must certify that you have been, you are being, or you are likely to be, helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

Victims of Domestic Violence

Now, let us turn our discussion to focus on victims of domestic violence. Some common questions and concerns for victims of domestic violence are as follows:

  1. Does the abuser have to be a US Citizen?

    • NO, in order to qualify for the U Visa, it does not matter if the abuser is a US Citizen, a Lawful Permanent Resident, in some other status, or has no status at all. Note however that if the abuser is a US Citizen you may be eligible for relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to be discussed in a different post
  2. Do I have to be legally married to the abuser?
    • NO, it is possible to be a victim of domestic violence without a legal marriage to the abuser
  3. Can men who are victims of domestic violence at the hands of a woman receive the benefit of a U Visa?

    • YES, and we have experience in such types of cases
  4. Can individuals who are victims of domestic violence in a same sex relationship receive the benefit of a U Visa?

    • YES, and we have experience in such types of cases

If you think you meet the U visa requirements, contact our offices for a consultation. Should you not meet the requirements of the U visa checklist we have outlined, you should contact us to see if you may benefit from another type of immigration relief.

Also, please be sure to continue to visit this blog for future posts concerning the types of documentation that could benefit your U Visa case, familial benefits for the relatives of U Visa recipients, waivers of inadmissibility for possible U Visa candidates, and the next steps after an approval of a U Visa, among other topics.

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