What is a U Visa and am I eligible?

There are a variety of visas that immigrants to the United States may apply for, depending on their situation and goals. The most well-known ones relate to certain types of work and marriage to a US citizen. However, there are other varieties of visas available to immigrants. Some of these visas intend to help victims of crimes like human trafficking.

One of these visas is the U visa. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Congress created the U Visa in 2000 along with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.

Who is the U visa for?

Congress created this visa in order to encourage immigrants to report certain crimes. The United States wants to reduce the amount of human trafficking and other crimes that happens within its borders, and the U Visa is one way to encourage victims to come forward with information that may otherwise be incriminating.

Congress did create the U visa specifically for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, but it may also be for individuals who are victims of certain workplace-related crimes.

What are the benefits of a U Visa?

If an individual qualifies for a U visa, they will receive lawful status in the United States for a maximum of four years, depending on the situation. During this time the immigrant will also have legal work authorization rights and have derivative benefits for family members. There is also the chance for the immigrant to change their status from a U visa holder to a permanent resident after 3 years of being in the United States.