It is possible for a victim of crime to get green cards. Victims of crimes related to mental or physical abuse who provide helpful information regarding the prosecution of the criminal activity may be eligible to receive a U Visa, also known as “U nonimmigrant status.” Once you have a U Visa, you may be eligible to receive a Green Card provided you meet all requirements under the law, including that “[your] presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity, or is in the public interest.”
The U Visa was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The intent of this legislation was to encourage undocumented immigrants who were victims of these severe crimes to come forward without compromising their own safety. To be eligible for a U Visa, you must be an alien victim of the most violent and disturbing crimes such as:
- Sexual abuse and exploitation; prostitution
- Involuntary servitude
- Human trafficking
- Domestic violence
- Blackmail and extortion
- Felony assault
- Female genital mutilation
- Manslaughter; murder
- Perjury, Obstruction of justice, and Witness tampering
- Unlawful criminal restraint and false imprisonment
- Other substantially similar, related crimes
You must also be willing to share helpful information related to the abusers, and/or actively aid in the investigation and prosecution of the crimes at issue. To gain temporary immigration benefits for you and your family, you must complete USCIS Form I-918, the Petition for U Nonimmigrant status.
Once you obtain a U Visa, you can work and live lawfully in the United States for four years. After three years under the U Visa, you are eligible to apply for a Green Card, provided you meet the following conditions:
- Continuous physical presence in the United States for at least three years since receiving your U Visa
- Have not unreasonably refused to assist law enforcement since receiving your U Nonimmigrant status.
The same agency that certified the crime to which you fell victim will also determine whether your remaining in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds or in the public or national interest.
All victims of abuse deserve justice, especially those with so much to lose. To avoid making errors that could hinder your application, it highly advisable to consult with a skilled immigration lawyer for crime victims. Bassey Law understands just how much is riding on the outcome of your immigration status, and we strongly urge victims to call us to ensure they remain on the track to citizenship. Knowing your rights and understanding key terms can make all the difference between whether or not you are able to remain in the United States.
If you have questions about this avenue to citizenship, call Bassey Law Immigration Center today to book a confidential consultation. With more than two decades of experience handling these matters, we are the immigration lawyers Florida trusts with their future. Let’s see what we can do for yours.