A U-Visa is a special type of visa that is designed to protect immigrants who are victims of serious crimes committed in the United States. For the purposes of the U-Visa, the immigrant must be the victim of a crime such as rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence, involuntary servitude, child abuse, trafficking, prostitution, or kidnapping.
A U-Visa is valid for four years, following which the immigrant may attain permanent resident status.
The requirements of the U-Visa are:
- the immigrant is a victim of a crime under U.S. law
- the crime was committed in the U.S.
- the victim suffered physical or mental abuse from the crime
- the victim can provide information about the crime
- the victim will aid law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crime
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
If you are an immigrant to the United States and you depend on your spouse or step-parent for your immigration status, it can be very scary to try to escape domestic violence at the hands of that spouse or step-parent. But, under the Violence Against Women Act, you may be eligible to file a self-petition for a visa rather than rely on sponsorship by your abuser.
Although it is called the Violence Against Women Act, the law allows both male and female spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to apply for a visa with a self-petition. Your abuser is not involved in the filing process and is not entitled to notification when you file.
Remember, you do not have to stay in an abusive situation and risk your own safety to protect your immigration status. Contact our Dallas U-Visa immigration lawyers today.