Immigration law blog

What is a U Visa? What is the Eligibility for a U Visa?

 The U.S. has provided an incentive for immigrants to not be afraid of calling the police to report crime. The incentive is that if you or your family members have been a victim of a certain crime and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible to receive a U visa. The U visa will give you and immediate family members (unmarried children under 21 or spouse) U visa status for four years, and you can apply for your permanent residency (green card) after three years of having U visa status. 

You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:

  • You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity. (Click here for a list of qualifying crimes)
  • You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
  • You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf
  • You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.

In order to obtain a U visa, you must first receive certification (on Form I-918B) from a law enforcement agency such as the police or Sheriff’s office, signing that you qualify according to the above-listed criteria.

After the U visa certification is signed by law enforcement, you then have six months to submit the certification along with your complete application detailing the crime and how you have suffered because of it to USCIS. Even if the law enforcement agency signs the certification, you do not have U visa status until it is granted by USCIS. Law enforcement signing the certification does not guarantee in any way that USCIS will grant you U visa status.

It is important to consult with an immigration attorney in order to discuss the details of your case and whether you should seek a U visa.

L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).

Our well-respected attorneys exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), detention cases, fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.

The immigration attorneys and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs.  Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.

Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.

Lesley Irizarry-Hougan

Lesley has been practicing law since July, 2005. She has significant experience in representing clients in Immigration Court, both detained and non-detained cases; appeals from immigration judge decisions, both at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Lesley is actively involved in her community, regularly volunteering at the Latina/o Bar Association Legal Clinic and the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Lesley Irizarry-Hougan ha estado practicando exclusivamente leyes de inmigración desde Julio del 2005. Ella tiene experiencia significante representando clientes en la Corte de Inmigración; apelando las decisiones del juez de inmigración, ambos a la Corte de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Noveno Circuito y la Corte de Distrito de Estados Unidos para el Oeste de Washington. Lesley también se especializa en aplicaciones afirmativas, incluyendo aplicaciones para la tarjeta verde (Mica), asilo, NACARA, y aplicaciones de ciudadanía archivado en los Estados Unidos y Servicios de Inmigración. Lesley también hace certificaciones de trabajo, incluyendo aplicaciones de cocineros especializados. Ella habla español nativo.

L.I.H. Law, P.S., Immigration Lawyer, Seattle, WA