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Can Crime Victims Receive Protection Against Deportation?

Posted on in Immigration

Dallas U Visa Lawyers

Immigrants who are victims of crime can face a variety of hardships, especially if they have limited options for leaving a dangerous situation and are concerned that they may face deportation. Fortunately, some victims can receive protection in the form of U visas. Understanding who is eligible for these visas and how they work can help those affected by crime know their rights and seek humanitarian relief.

What Is a U Visa? 

The U visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). It allows victims of certain crimes to stay in the United States and work or study without fear of deportation. It also allows them to eventually apply for permanent resident status. To receive a U visa, an applicant must meet several criteria: 

  • They must have experienced substantial abuse of a physical or mental nature because they were the victim of one of the qualifying criminal activities, which include domestic violence, kidnapping or false imprisonment, felony assault, murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, prostitution, and stalking.

  • The applicant must be able to provide useful information about the crimes in question, and they must be willing to cooperate with law enforcement officials in order to help prosecute the perpetrator(s) involved in the crime(s).

  • The crime(s) in question must have taken place in the U.S., or the offender must have violated the laws of the United States.

  • The applicant cannot be deemed inadmissible to the United States for any other reason, such as health-related issues, previous criminal convictions, national security issues, violations of immigration laws, or previous deportations. However, the applicant may be able to receive a waiver of inadmissibility if they can provide immigration officials with an explanation for why they should be able to remain in the United States.

Once these criteria are met, applicants can then apply for a U visa with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This can be done by filing Form I-918 (Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status). An applicant must also submit a certification of their U nonimmigrant status. This form will be signed by a law enforcement official, and it will confirm that the applicant has assisted or is expected to help with the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case.

While receiving a U visa does not guarantee permanent residency, it does provide victims with temporary protection from deportation. A person who receives this type of visa will be able to remain in the United States for four years, and extensions may be available because of delays in processing, requests from law enforcement due to the need for continued assistance with a case, or extraordinary circumstances that may affect the health and safety of the applicant or their family members. This can give victims time to heal physically and emotionally before deciding what their next steps will be. After a person has maintained a continuous physical presence in the U.S. with a U nonimmigrant status for at least three years, they will be eligible to apply for a Green Card, as long as they have continued to cooperate with law enforcement.

Contact Our Dallas U Visa Lawyers

Being the victim of a crime can leave you feeling scared and helpless, especially if you are an immigrant who is already trying to navigate an unfamiliar legal system. Luckily, there is help available through the U visa program, which may provide you with temporary protection from deportation and access to resources that can help you stay safe. At John W. Lawit, LLC, our Arlington immigration visa attorneys can help you understand your options for applying for a U visa or receiving other forms of humanitarian relief, and we will provide the guidance and representation you need during the immigration process. Contact our firm at 214-609-2242 to set up a consultation and learn how we can help you.

Sources:

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-of-human-trafficking-and-other-crimes/victims-of-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-192instr.pdf

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