WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Some courts are hearing cases virtually due to COVID. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Federal


View all
January 30, 2018

I have U visa status, but never received an actual visa. How do I get one?

If you are approved for U visa status, you will not actually receive a visa (a document that allows a person to enter the U.S.) until you travel and re-enter the United States. Visas are issued at U.S. consulates and embassies outside of the U.S.1 Instead, when you are approved for U visa status, you will receive work authorization (often called a “work permit”) and another immigration document that shows your status. You may never need an actual visa unless you plan to leave the U.S.

Whether or not you have already been approved for U status, you should consult with your U visa immigration attorney before traveling and to find out what steps to take to get a visa. To find the contact information of organizations working in the area of immigration law, please see the national organizations listed on our Immigration page. Also, please read about all of the important concerns with traveling in Can I travel outside of the U.S. if my U visa status application is approved?

Note: If you already have U visa status, and if you submitted an application to obtain lawful permanent residence that is still pending, then you will need to request “advance parole” before leaving the U.S.2 Advance parole will allow you to preserve your application for lawful permanent residence when you leave the country.3If you do not request advance parole before leaving the U.S., your application for lawful permanent residence will be considered abandoned and it will be denied.2

1 USCIS website – Glossary
2 8 CFR § 245.24(j)
3 See generally USCIS website – Glossary