What is the U Visa?
The U Visa is a temporary visa that allows victims of certain qualifying crimes to live and work in the United States
When was the U Visa created?
In the year 2000, Congress approved the Law on Victims of Human Trafficking and Protection against Violence (VTVPA) to strengthen the capacity of judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute certain crimes while offering greater protection to its victims, for which it created U Visa Nonimmigrant Status.
This U Visa was created to strengthen the capacity of the judicial system to investigate and prosecute certain crimes while offering greater protection to undocumented victims.
U Visa requirements
• Be the victim of a qualifying crime that took place in the United States or that violated the United States laws,
•Have suffered physical or mental abuse,
• Have information related to criminal activity for the investigating authorities,
• Have collaborated, be collaborating, or have the possibility of collaborating in the investigation or prosecution of a crime,
• Be admissible in the United States or submit a request for exemption using Form I-192,
• In the case of minors under 16 years of age or in a situation of disability, another person can present the information on their behalf,
U Visa Qualifying Crimes
The qualified crimes for u visa are the following:
- Domestic violence
- Illegal deprivation of liberty,
- Female genital mutilation
- Armed assault
- Involuntary servitude
- Homicide, murder
- Obstruction of justice
- Carnal access
- Sexual exploitation
- Slave trade
- Human trafficking
- Witness tampering
- and other related crimes.
You must submit:
– Form I-918: Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status,
– Form I-918: Supplement B, Certification of U Nonimmigrant Status,
– Certification from a judicial authority that you collaborated or may be of assistance in the criminal investigation,
– A personal account of criminal activity,
– Proof of each of the eligibility requirements listed above,
-Form I-192: (if inadmissible),
– Members of the victim’s immediate family may be eligible for a U Visa based on their derivative status.
- To be approved for a U visa, you must meet and present proof of all requirements of eligibility according to the list previously presented
- The government has established a quota of 10,000 visas available nationwide. This quota does not apply to derivatives
- Due to the limited U visa availability, there is a very long waiting period which could easily exceed 10 years
If you are granted a U Visa you are immediately eligible for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) so that you can legally work in the United States. Upon approval, the derivative family members can also seek work authorization.
The U Visa is valid for 4 years. After 3 years of U Visa status, the applicant might be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency (a green card) by filing Form I-485 with supporting evidence:
Conditions for permanent residency based on a U Visa status:
• The applicant has been physically present in the United States for at least 3 years continuously,
• The applicant has not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to legal authorities,
• The applicant is not inadmissible according to article 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
• The applicant’s presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds, to guarantee family unity, or for reasons of public interest.
Due to the limit of 10,000 U Visas available nationwide, there is a significantly long backlog. As of 2021, an applicant for a U Visa could wait over 10 years for a final decision.
T Visa nonimmigrant status is a temporary immigration benefit that allows some victims of a severe form of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement agencies in an investigation or prosecution of acts of human trafficking. T visas offer protection to victims and strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute acts of human trafficking.
T nonimmigrant status is also available to some eligible family members of victims of human trafficking.
T Visa recipients are eligible for employment authorization and for certain federal and state benefits and services.
Trafficking, also called human trafficking, is a modern form of slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to compel people to provide jobs or services, including commercial sex.
Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, supplies, solicits, sponsors, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sexual act, in which the commercial sexual act is induced by force, fraud, coercion.
Trafficking in labor: When someone recruits, houses, transports, provides or obtains a person to perform work or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
T Visas Requirements
A T Visa is a form of immigration relief available to an applicant who can show that he or she:
1. Is a survivor of a severe form of trafficking or attempted trafficking. Trafficking includes both labor trafficking and sex trafficking;
2. Is physically present in the United States or at a port of entry on account of the trafficking. The applicant must have remained in the United States since the most recent act of trafficking;
3. Has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in investigating or prosecuting the trafficking (if eighteen years of age or older). It is important to know that minors do not have to cooperate with authorities. There is also an exception for applicants who have suffered psychological or physical trauma, and are unable to cooperate with law enforcement because of that trauma. In this case, the applicant may qualify for the “trauma exception” to the assistance requirement. All other applicants must show that they at least tried to be helpful with any “reasonable requests” from law enforcement. Whether a request is “reasonable” depends on the particular situation. Things that will be considered include: general law enforcement practices, the applicant’s experiences (what the applicant was subjected to by the trafficker), and the applicant’s circumstances regarding fear, physical and mental trauma, their age and maturity. For example, if law enforcement asks the applicant to do something that puts their life in danger, this could be seen as an unreasonable request. However, it is ultimately up to USCIS to decide if what law enforcement asked you to do is reasonable or not.
4. Is at risk of suffering extreme hardship upon removal from the United States.
How to Apply for T visa Nonimmigrant Status
To apply for a T Visa you must submit:
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, including a personal statement explaining in your own words how you were a victim of human trafficking,
- Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Immediate Relative of a T-1 Recipient (PDF, 531.89 KB) (if applicable),
- Evidence showing that you complied with reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies, if applicable. You can file a Form I-914, Supplement B, Statement from a Law Enforcement Officer for Victims of Human Trafficking to show that you are a victim of human trafficking and have complied with reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies. However, you may choose to present other evidence in place of or in addition to Form I-914, Supplement B, such as trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, news articles, affidavits, or other relevant credible evidence,
- Evidence showing that you meet all other eligibility requirements,
- Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant (if inadmissible).