What should you know about U visas?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Visas

America serves as a relatively safe country for victims seeking refuge from their current life circumstances. Sometimes, this means providing visas for people fleeing from a country in war. Other times, it means providing a safe haven for victims of human trafficking.

The U visa exists to fill the latter need, providing a potential avenue to legal citizenship for victims who suffered from trafficking.

Why were U visas created?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discusses the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which coincided with the creation of U visas in 2000.

According to Congress, this visa got created specifically with the intention of encouraging immigrants in the country to report certain crimes. Due to the issue of human trafficking on both a global and national scale, Congress wanted to crack down on human traffickers. The U visa provides a way for trafficking victims to approach law enforcement with information that might otherwise incriminate them.

This visa can also cover victims of certain workplace crimes, too. Its primary purpose, however, is to serve human trafficking victims and victims of domestic violence.

What does a U visa provide?

Those who receive a U visa gain lawful status in the United States, and this status can last for up to four years. They hold derivative benefits for their family members along with the ability to legally work in the country. After three years in the country, they can also change their U visa status to permanent residency status.

On a whole, it provides a potential win-win opportunity for victims of abuse and for the country, making it a fine option to consider.