U Visas: Who Can Apply?
Foreign nationals will qualify for U Visas if:
- they are the victims of a violent crime
- have information about the criminal activity
- cooperate with law enforcement in the criminal investigation
- suffer substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.
- the crime took place in the United States
Law enforcement or other government officials must certify that the victim was cooperative with the investigation before a person can apply, but officials can refuse to certify for any reason. There is also a much higher demand for U Visas than there are visas available, resulting in long backlogs. Persons granted U status may apply for permanent residence (Green Card) after three years.
Inadmissible to the United States
Persons who are eligible for U Visas but are otherwise not admissible to the United States (meaning they have committed criminal offense or immigration violations) may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility at the time they file for U status.