Listen to the story of an immigrant we’ll call Roberto to find out.

Roberto came to the U.S. in 2010 over the border from Mexico, was caught by Border Patrol, but never went to his court date. He stayed in the U.S., and in 2011 was robbed at knife point by two men while delivering pizza. They beat him up and Roberto was brought to the hospital. He was questioned by police, and though he was scared of helping them, he gave them all the information he had. The police never find the men who committed the crime.

Through an immigration lawyer, Roberto applies for a “U Visa.” The police helped sign a form saying he was the victim of a serious crime and was helpful to them. His U Visa application is approved, and he, his wife, and his children get legal status and work authorization for four years. Three years after, they apply for their Green Cards, which are also approved.

This is an example of how being a victim of a crime can help you change your immigration status. The U Visa program was designed as a way to encourage undocumented immigrants (who are understandably worried about contacting the police) to report crimes and assist in their investigation. Individuals can be eligible even if they have an immigration problem (illegal entry, document fraud, previous deportation order, etc.).

The U Visa program might help you gain legal status if you meet the following requirements:

  • You (or your family member) are a victim of one of the following crimes:

    • Abduction

    • Abusive Sexual Contact

    • Blackmail

    • Domestic Violence

    • Extortion

    • False Imprisonment

    • Female Genital Mutilation

    • Felonious Assault

    • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting

    • Hostage

    • Incest

    • Involuntary Servitude

    • Kidnapping

    • Manslaughter

    • Murder

    • Obstruction of Justice

    • Peonage

    • Perjury

    • Prostitution

    • Rape

    • Sexual Assault

    • Sexual Exploitation

    • Slave Trade

    • Stalking

    • Torture

    • Trafficking

    • Witness Tampering

    • Unlawful Criminal Restraint

    • Other Related Crimes

    • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

  • You suffered substantial physical OR mental abuse because of the crime;

  • You have information about the crime;

  • You have helped or will help law enforcement to investigate or prosecute the crime;

  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. law; and

  • You can obtain the signature of an authorized law enforcement officer on a form stating that you have been or will be helpful.

Some important notes:

  • After three years in U visa status you can apply for your Green Card;

  • The application for a U visa can include certain family members

  • You can apply from inside or outside the United States

  • There is no time limit on how long ago the crime occurred

If you, a family member or a friend has been the victim of a crime, it is important to find out if you are eligible for a U Visa. As time passes, it gets harder to obtain the documents needed to apply for a U Visa.

If you have more questions about the U Visa or whether you are eligible for one, please don’t hesitate to call us at 617-517-4660.

CategoryLegal News
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