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Legal Information: Federal


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January 30, 2018

Am I eligible for U visa status? What crimes could qualify me?

Victims of certain crimes may qualify for U visa status. These are the basic eligibility requirements - you must meet all of them:

  • You have suffered “substantial physical or mental abuse” as a result of being the victim of one (or more) of the following criminal activities (or similar activities) that violate federal, state, or local criminal law:
    • rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; stalking; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above-mentioned crimes;
  • You have information about the criminal activity (or if you are under 16 years old, that your parent, guardian, or “next friend” has information about the criminal activity);
  • You can provide a certification from a law enforcement authority that states that you have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to the authorities investigating or prosecuting the criminal activity (or if you are under 16 years old, that your parent, guardian, or “next friend” has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful);
  • The criminal activity:
    • violated U.S. law; or
    • occurred in the U.S. (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the U.S.;1 or
    • violated a U.S. federal law outside of the U.S. but the law allows for the criminal to be prosecuted in U.S. federal court;2 and
  • You are not in violation of the immigration law’s inadmissibility grounds or, if you are, that a waiver can be (and is) filed to ask that those violations be excused.3

Note: Another possible immigration remedy for a child who was abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). It is important to know that you can still be considered to be “abandoned” by one parent even if you are living with, and being supported by, your other parent. If SIJ classification is granted, you may qualify for lawful permanent residency. You can read more about the requirements on the USCIS.gov website. Please talk to a lawyer who specializes in SIJS for specific advice.

Note: On our Videos page, you can see our series of vlogs (videos) in Spanish, with English subtitles, where we discuss what is a U visa, what are the requirements to get a U visa, what crimes qualify someone to get a U visa, among other related topics.

1 INA § 101(a)(15)(U)
2 8 CFR § 214.14(b)(4)
3 INA § 212(d)(14)