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What You Need to Know about U Visas

Miami U Visa Attorney

Help from a Miami U Visa Attorney

Non-immigrants in Florida who have been the victims of certain types of crime and those who are suffering from physical or mental abuse might be eligible for U visas and green cards. If you are a non-resident who has been the victim of a crime in Florida, a Miami U visa attorney at Pozo Goldstein might be able to help you secure a U visa. Our Miami U visa lawyers can review your case and explain whether you are eligible for this type of green card and help you through the process.

Understanding U Visas

U non-immigrant visas were created by Congress in 2000 to help U.S. law enforcement agencies and the government prosecute certain types of crimes. U visas are designed to encourage victims of violent crimes, physical abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking to report what happened to them to law enforcement. In many cases, survivors and victims of these types of crimes do not come forward because of fear that they will be detained or deported. Because of this, undocumented immigrants are often targeted by criminals. The U visa incentivizes victims to come forward and work with law enforcement so that justice can be obtained.

Eligibility for U Visas

The following eligibility requirements apply for people seeking U visas:

  • Victim of a qualified crime as identified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Victim suffered significant mental or physical abuse
  • Victim can provide information to law enforcement authorities about the crime
  • Victim helps law enforcement with their investigation and prosecution of the crime
  • Crime occurred in the U.S. or violated U.S. law
  • Victim is admissible or can secure a waiver of inadmissibility

Qualifying Crimes

The following crimes qualify undocumented immigrant victims to apply for U visas as long as they meet the other eligibility requirements:

  • Domestic violence
  • Abduction
  • Sexual abuse
  • Extortion
  • Kidnapping
  • Being held hostage
  • Female genital mutilation
  • False imprisonment
  • Manslaughter
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Perjury
  • Peonage
  • Murder
  • Torture
  • Stalking
  • Criminal restraint
  • Slave trade
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Prostitution
  • Related crimes

Other offenses that are similar to the above-listed crimes might qualify. A Miami U visa attorney can review your situation and help you determine whether you might qualify.

Law Enforcement Certification

Before you can apply for a U visa, you will need to get a certification from law enforcement by completing Form I-918B. You will need to show that you are willing to cooperate with law enforcement in their investigation of the case or its prosecution. The form will need to be signed by a member of law enforcement such as a police officer or prosecutor.

Benefits of a U Visa

If you are approved for a U visa, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Temporary immigration status and work authorization
  • Temporary status for your qualifying family members
  • Potential to obtain status as a lawful permanent resident

After your U visa is issued, you will have a temporary lawful residence for four years. Once three years have passed, you can talk to your Miami U visa attorney at Pozo Goldstein about your eligibility for a green card.

To apply for a U visa, you will need to complete Form I-918 and have an authorized law enforcement officer sign it to certify you are helping or willing to help with the investigation and prosecution of a qualifying crime in which you were the victim.

Adjustment of Status

Once you have held your U visa for three years, you can begin the process of adjusting your status to lawful permanent residence. To do this, you will need to complete Form I-485 and meet the following requirements:

  • File Form I-485
  • Be legally admitted with a U-1 nonimmigrant visa
  • Have a continuous presence in the U.S. for a minimum of three years since being admitted as a U visa holder
  • Have your presence deemed to be in the public interest and good for humanitarian purposes and family unity

If you have participated in any act of murder, torture, or events qualifying as genocide or Nazi persecution, you will not be admissible.

Talk to a Miami Immigration Lawyer

The experienced Miami Immigration Lawyers at Pozo Goldstein are dedicated to helping people find immigration solutions that fit their situations the best. If you think that you might be eligible for a U visa, contact us today at (305) 856-0400 for a consultation.

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