U Visa for Victims of Crime
The U nonimmigrant visa status was created with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October 2000. The U nonimmigrant visa status is for certain alien victims of qualifying criminal activities who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and want to assist a law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other authority in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activities. To qualify for the U visa status the individual needs to have information regarding a criminal activity violating U.S. laws and such individual needs to be helpful in investigation or prosecution of that crime.
Criminal Activity that violates U.S. criminal law and qualifies for the U visa includes but is not limited to:
- False imprisonment, abduction, blackmail, hostage, involuntary servitude, unlawful criminal restraint;
- Domestic violence, felonious assault, kidnapping manslaughter, murder, torture;
- Sexual assault, sexual exploitation, abusive sexual conduct, prostitution, rape, incest;
- Obstruction of justice, perjury;
- Other related crimes.
The victims of crime who are under 21 years of age may petition for a U visa status on behalf of their spouse, children, parents or unmarried siblings under age 18, and victims who are 21 years of age or older may apply on behalf of their spouse and children. The foreign national can petition for the U nonimmigrant visa from outside the United States.