Information about the U Visa

This information is from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

What is a U visa?

A U Visa grants temporary immigration status to individuals who:
  • Are or have been victims of certain crimes that took place in the United States and
  • Have suffered substantial harm as a result of these crimes and
  • Are assisting, have assisted, or will assist law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of these crimes.

Who can apply for a U visa?

Crime victims who are not U.S. Citizens, nationals or lawful permanent residents can apply for a U Visa.
For crime victims over 21:
  • U Visas are available to the victim’s spouse and minor children (who are younger than 21 years of age and unmarried).
For crime victims under 21:
  • U Visas are available to the victim’s spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18.
  • Crime victims and family members can also apply from outside the United States if they meet all of the eligibility requirements.

What are the benefits of a U visa? 

Individuals with U Visas can live and work in the United States for 3 years and may apply for lawful permanent residency after the 3-year period.
They also receive work permits and are eligible for certain government benefits.

What type of criminal activity qualifies for a U visa? 

Victims of the following crimes* (or similar activity that violates Federal, State, or local law) may apply for a U Visa:
  • Domestic violence
  • Felony assault
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Kidnapping, abduction
  • Manslaughter
  • Attempted murder
  • Rape, Sexual Assault
  • Abusive sexual conduct, sexual exploitation
  • Slave trade, human trafficking

Does it matter who the perpetrator of the crime was?

  • The perpetrator of the crime might be your spouse, domestic partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, relative or a stranger.
  • The type of relationship you had with the person who hurt you does not matter for a U Visa.
  • It also does not matter if the person was undocumented or had immigration status.

What are the eligibility requirements for a U visa? 

  1. You suffered substantial physical or mental harm from being a victim of criminal activity.
  2. You have information about this criminal activity.
  3. You helped, are helping, or will help law enforcement with the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime.
  4. Criminal activity violated the laws of the United States.

What can I do if I think I am eligible for a U visa? 

  • Stay in contact with law enforcement agencies such as the local police or district attorney’s offices.
  • Gather as much evidence as you can about the crime and the harm you have suffered from the crime. Examples of evidence include:
  • Personal statement (discuss-ing how you have been physically and mentally harmed and how you assisted or will assist law enforcement with investigating and/or prosecuting the crime)
  • Police reports
  • Medical or psychological evaluations
  • Letters from counseling centers or shelters
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Discuss your case with a reputable immigration attorney.

LAFLA may be able to help.

If you believe you might be eligible for a U Visa, please call our immigration intake line at:
1-800-399-4529
Even if we are unable to represent you, we can give you valuable recommendations of other organizations or reputable attorneys that may be able to help.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
East Los Angeles Office
5228 Whittier Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90022
(213) 640-3883
FAX: (213) 640-3911
 
*This is not a complete list of the crimes for which a victim can be eligible for a U Visa. You should consult with a reputable immigration attorney if you have been a victim of a crime not listed here.

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