U Visa Attorneys in Hollywood, Florida, Helping Victims of Crimes Immigrate to the U.S.
Statistics show that undocumented immigrants tend not to report criminal activity. When you take half a second to think about it, the reason is obvious: undocumented people don’t trust that law enforcement agencies will be on their side. They fear that by alerting the police to the criminal act, they might get swooped up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and then face deportation orders. Thankfully, the U.S. recognized this issue and passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) into law in 2000. Among other things, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act created the humanitarian visa known as the U Visa.
The U Visa is a non-immigrant visa and grants its holder the legal right to reside and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. Unlike other visas, the U Visa is exclusive to victims of crimes that took place during their time in the U.S. If you or a family member were recently the victim of criminal activity in the U.S., you may qualify for a U Visa. To learn more about how U Visas benefit immigrant communities who feel under threat or to determine whether you meet the criteria to apply, please contact our immigration law firm today.
What is a Non-Immigrant Visa?
The U.S. immigration service provides immigrant visas to foreign nationals who entered the country legally and intend to become permanent residents of the U.S. Non-immigrant visas, on the other hand, are for foreign nationals who wish to reside in the U.S. on a temporary basis, either for employment, leisure, study, medical treatment, or other reasons.
A U Visa grants non-immigrant status to victims of qualifying crimes in the U.S. Not all non-immigrant visas have a straight shot towards permanent residency, but U Visas are unique in that they can forgive previous criminal violations (such as illegal border crossing). Those who possess a U Visa could one day eventually obtain legal immigrant status with a green card (aka a legal permanent resident card). And, after years of being a lawful green card holder, you may be able to seek United States citizenship as well.
What Crimes May Qualify You for U Visa Status?
In order to be eligible for a U Visa, you must be the victim of a qualifying crime. The U.S. government has documented several crimes that may qualify an undocumented foreign national to receive a U Visa.
A non-exhaustive list of qualifying crimes includes:
- Blackmail and extortion.
- Domestic violence.
- False imprisonment and unlawful criminal restraint.
- Felonious assault.
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting.
- Human trafficking.
- Involuntary servitude.
- Mental or physical abuse.
- Obstruction of justice.
- Prostitution and sexual exploitation.
- Sexual assault and rape.
- Witness tampering.
Even if the crime you were the victim of is not on the list, you should still reach out to an experienced U Visa attorney to discuss your case. Depending on the circumstances of your unique case, you may be able to file for a U Visa and eventually receive legal permanent residency. U Visas are limited, however, so you must bring your case to an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to begin building a solid case. Please reach out to our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Are the Personal Requirements for U Visa Eligibility?
Being an undocumented immigrant who was the victim of a crime in the U.S. is not enough to get you the U Visa you desire. Several other elements of eligibility must be considered before you can hope to receive a U Visa.
In addition to being the victim of a qualifying crime, you must also possess information vital to solving the crime and bringing the perpetrator to justice. This often means cooperating with law enforcement authorities and the prosecution until the criminal case is closed. If you are a minor or have a disability that would preclude you from cooperating with the investigation, a guardian or other family member would need to cooperate in your place.
To be sure you meet the qualifying criteria, please get in touch with our experienced legal team to talk about your case in more detail.
What is the U Visa Application Process?
After you’ve been qualified as a candidate for a U Visa, you must begin full cooperation with any law enforcement agencies overseeing the criminal investigation. Law enforcement will assess your cooperation and usefulness to their investigation and then decide whether to sign on for your U Visa application.
How Can an Immigration Attorney Help You Apply for a U Visa?
U Visas are among the more challenging visas to acquire in the U.S. You must reveal yourself as an undocumented immigrant, cooperate with a criminal investigation, and face long processing times for your application. Plus, only 10,000 U Visas are granted each year nationwide. You want a legal team in your corner who aggressively pursues your goals alongside you. Magilligan Law is more than qualified to help you pursue a U Visa. To learn more about our legal services, please get in touch with our Florida law firm today.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with an Experienced U Visa Lawyer Today
If you’re an undocumented immigrant and you’ve been the victim of a crime during your time in the U.S., you may qualify for a U non-immigrant visa. Please get in touch with our Hollywood-based law offices today to schedule a confidential case evaluation to ensure you qualify. Our team of lawyers and associates are well-respected professionals of the Southern Florida legal community and would proudly represent your pursuit of legal status.
You may reach our law office at 954-833-1454.