U Visas are available to individuals and their families who have fallen victim to specific crimes in the United States. Such crimes include, but are not limited to: domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, murder, manslaughter, human trafficking, abduction, torture, false imprisonment, extortion, involuntary servitude and many others. 10,000 U visas are granted annually.
A successful U visa applicant has shown that
- she has suffered substantial physical or mental resulting from the “qualifying criminal activity” which gives cause to a U visa application,
- she has information about the crime or, if a minor, have granted permission to somebody of legal age who will provide information about the crime,
- she is, will be, or has been helpful in investigating and prosecuting the criminal activity on which the U visa application is based,
- the crime occurred in the United States or violated a U.S. federal law that provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction, and
- she is admissible to the United States.
A person is considered a victim of qualifying criminal activity if,
- the person has suffered direct and proximate harm as a result of the criminal act,
- the applicant is a family member related to the direct victim, where the direct victim is deceased due murder or manslaughter or incompetent, incapacitated, or not of legal age,
- the person is the victim of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, or perjury, including attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit one or more of those offenses if she is directly and proximately harmed by the perpetrator of those crimes and the crimes were committed to frustrate law enforcement in investigating, arresting, or prosecuting the perpetrator.
U visas are granted for periods of 4 years. A 4 year period can be extended if a law enforcement agent certifies that the visa recipient’s presence is required in the United States to aid in the investigation and prosecution of the criminal activity on which the U visa application was based.