What is a U Visa and Who Qualifies?
A U visa allows victims of certain qualifying criminal activity to reside and work in the United States lawfully. This classification was created in the interest of assisting law enforcement and for humanitarian purposes.
The Eligibility is met when
i) the person was a victim,
ii) of qualifying criminal activity in the United States,
iii) who suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the criminal activity,
iv) and possesses credible and reliable information concerning the criminal activity,
v) and has been helpful or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement.
The term “victim” does not have to be the direct victim of the crime. For example, the direct victim was murdered, then the spouse or children under 21 years of age are considered victims that are eligible to apply for a U visa. Also, if the direct victim was a child under 21 years of age, the parents and siblings under the age of 18 are considered victims that are eligible to apply for a U visa.
“Qualifying criminal activity” is defined by statute, and includes crimes such as murder, torture, blackmail, and witness tampering. There are nearly 30 crimes enumerated.
“Substantial physical or mental abuse” as a result of the criminal activity is based on a totality of circumstances, including the nature of the injury suffered, the duration of the infliction of the harm, the permanence of the harm injury, and the physical and mental soundness of the victim.
Possession of credible and reliable information and helpfulness to law enforcement may be established by police certifications and declarations.