The U Visa and Domestic Violence
here at the The Ranchod Law Group 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 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
- sexual assault
- abusive sexual contact
- sexual exploitation
- female genital mutilation
- being held hostage
- peonage (involuntary servitude)
- slave trade
- kidnapping, abduction
- unlawful criminal restraint
- false imprisonment
- felonious assault
- witness tampering
- obstruction of justice
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.
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:
Does the abuser have to be aU.S.Citizen?
Do I have to be legally married to the abuser?
Can men who are victims of domestic violence at the hands of a woman receive the benefit of a U Visa?
Can individuals who are victims of domestic violence in a same sex relationship receive the benefit of a U Visa?
Contact our offices for a consultation if you think you meet the U visa requirements. Should you not meet the requirements of the U visa checklist we have outlined, you may benefit from another type of immigration relief.
Here at the Ranchod Law Group we have extensive experience with U Visas. As many Clients come forward with common questions, we have gathered them all to provide you with a complete set of answers.
- Do I Qualify for a U Visa?
- What relatives can I include in my U Visa Application?
- What are the Benefits of a U Visa?
- Why is the waiting period for a U Visa so long?
- Can I travel while on the wait list?
- Can I travel outside of the United States once my U Visa is approved?
- How does USCIS process my case?
- Can I be placed in deportation proceedings if my U Visa is denied?
- When can I become a resident?
- When can I apply to become a United States citizen?
- What to do while waiting for my U Visa Approval?
Do I qualify for a U Visa?
- You have been a victim of a qualified crime (e.g. domestic violence, incest, rape, stalking, sexual assault)
- You cooperated with the authorities in the investigation of the crime
- You suffered emotional or physical harm
- USCIS grants you a waiver of inadmissibility for criminal or immigration violations
What relatives can I include in my U-Visa Application?
What are the Benefits of a U- Visa?
- Legal status and protection from deportation
- Work Permit
- Eligibility to apply for permanent residency after 3 years
- Eligibility for CalWorks, Food Stamps and Medical after receiving the U Visa receipt notice
Why is the waiting period for a U-Visa so long?
Once USCIS processes your case, they will put you on a wait list and grant you a work permit that lasts two years while you wait for your visa. It is likely that you will have to renew your work permit at least two times while you are on the wait list. The wait period can be longer or shorter depending on the resources that USCIS has. Unfortunately, in the past we have only seen the wait time increase.
Can I travel while on the wait list?
Can I travel outside of the U.S. once my U Visa is approved?
How does USCIS process my case?
Can I be placed in deportation proceedings if my U-Visa is denied?
When can I become a resident?
When can I apply to become a citizen?
What to do while waiting for my U-Visa Approval?
- Avoid any negative contact with police as certain police departments can refer you to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Negative contact includes but is not limited to:
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- driving without a license;
- not paying tickets for crimes; and infractions
- not paying tickets for infractions.
Any negative contact with police can affect your U-Visa case.