U Visas for the Victims of Crimes
U visas are reserved for the victims of crimes who aid in the investigation and/or prosecution of certain criminal activities. Intended to protect victims who have suffered significant mental and/or physical abuse, U visas are also meant to facilitate the prosecution of those who commit human trafficking, sexual assault and other serious crimes in the U.S.
At the Law Office of Peter Duong, our San Francisco immigration attorney has extensive experience helping people apply for and secure U visas. Known for providing caring, professional services, as well as aggressive legal advocacy, our lawyer and his dedicated staff can help you obtain the relief you deserve, resolving your immigration issues as favorably as possible, so you can focus on your promising future.
Basic Eligibility Requirements for U Visas
In order to qualify for a U visa, an applicant has to meet at least the following basic eligibility requirements, which include having:
- Been the victim of a qualifying criminal activity1 (e.g., false imprisonment, murder, prostitution, etc. ), with the offense taking place in the U.S. or violating U.S. laws
- Sustained “substantial physical or mental abuse” due to being victimized
- Knowledge about the criminal activity
- Participated in or planning on participating in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime
- Met the requirements for admissibility into the U.S. (Waivers may be available for those who do not meet the admissibility requirements).
More Important Information about U Visas
- Duration of U visas – U visas are typically valid for four years. Extensions may be available in limited cases, such as when there are delays with consular processing, law enforcement requests an extension (due to an ongoing investigation/case) or when other exceptional circumstances apply.
- Applying for U visas – Applying for a U visa starts with completing Form I-918 and then submitting it, along with the supporting documentation and filing fees, to USCIS. There may be additional forms to complete, and these can be complicated. Given that making mistakes on any paperwork related to a U visa application can result in a delay or denial of the visa, it is best to work with an experienced lawyer when applying for a U visa or any immigration status change.
- The U visa cap – The annual cap on U visas is 10,000. There is no cap on the number of relatives, such as spouses and children, that can enter the U.S. with U visa holders, however. Once the cap has been met, additional applicants will be placed on a waiting list and may have other options for staying in the U.S.
Contact a San Francisco Immigration Attorney at the Law Office of Peter Duong
To get experienced help applying for a U visa, contact a San Francisco immigration attorney at the Law Office of Peter Duong. For nearly two decades, our trusted lawyer has been committed to providing exceptional legal services related to all aspects of U.S. immigration and naturalization law.
Call us today at 415.231.5143 or email us via the contact form on this page. From our offices based in San Francisco, our attorneys provide superior representation and legal services to clients throughout the Bay Area, the state of California and the world.
1: USCIS has a complete list of qualifying crimes here.