If you or your loved one was the victim of a crime, the U visa offers a potential form of immigration relief. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) describes a U visa as a type of nonimmigrant status that is available to certain crime victims who suffered significant trauma and provided assistance to law enforcement.
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are qualified to help individuals and families prepare their U visa petitions. Our team wants to make sure that you are in the best possible position to protect your rights. Below, our Los Angeles U Visa lawyer highlights some of the key things to know about crafting a successful U visa petition in California.
Know the Standard: U Visa Eligibility Requirements
To apply for a U visa, you must complete and submit Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. Not everyone can seek immigration relief through this form. You may be eligible for a U visa if:
- You were the victim of a serious crime, such as domestic violence, assault, sexual assault, or human trafficking;
- You have useful and relevant information about the offense; and
- You were or are willing to help the authorities pursue justice.
When it is granted, a U visa offers full protection against deportation. It generally lasts for a period of four years. At the end of that time, it can be renewed. Further, a U visa holder may eventually be eligible to apply for a green card.
Be Proactive: Obtain a Certification of Helpfulness
You can only get a U visa if you are willing to work with law enforcement or other authorities. In doing so, you should get a document called a Certification of Helpfulness. This is one of the best steps you can take to build a strong U visa application.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put together a basic resource guide that discusses how a Certification of Helpfulness is and how it affects a U visa application. The key thing to know is that this document serves as an important form of evidence to prove that you fulfilled your duties to help police/prosecutors.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Help You Prepare Other Supporting Evidence
Beyond the Certification of Helpfulness, other types of evidence can help to support a U visa petition as well. An experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney can assist you in gathering and preparing this evidence. Some notable examples include:
- Documents that demonstrate crime victim status, such as trial transcripts or police reports;
- Any medical evidence that establishes the psychological or physical impact of the crime;
- Testimony from supporting witnesses; and
- A personal narrative statement describing the circumstances surrounding the crime and the steps that you took to cooperate with the American justice system.
Call Our Los Angeles U Visa Attorney for Immediate Help
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer is a compassionate, client-focused advocate for U visa applicants. If you have any questions about building a successful petition, our team can help. To set up a fully confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to call today. We serve communities throughout all of Southern California, including in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, and Ventura County.
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- LA Times Op-Ed: Hard Hit ICE Detention Facilities are Being Left Behind in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout - February 17, 2021