The purpose behind the creation of U visas is to provide immigrant workers with relief and protection when exposed to criminal activity.
Many individuals around the world want to come to the United States because it is the “land of the free.” There are opportunities to have a better life and fulfill dreams of being successful. As an immigrant, there are many ways to legally get into or stay in the U.S. and be able to work. One of those could include getting a U visa.
Why the U Visa Exists
Despite the opportunities available in the United States, not every employer treats their immigrant workers with respect. There have been cases of exploitation and abuse of immigrant workers, including violations of wage and hour laws, the rights of workers, and equal employment protections, among others.
In worst-case scenarios, immigrants might be exposed to criminal activity propagated by their employers. When that happens, the individual may be eligible for the U visa. This option is reserved for victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse. They must also prove willing to help with the legal investigation.
Purpose of the U Visa
The purpose behind the creation of U visas is to provide immigrant workers with relief and protection when exposed to criminal activity. Many immigrants are afraid of reporting these crimes because they do not want to lose their current immigration status, especially if their employer decides to retaliate against them.
The U visa was put into place to reduce the chances of further exploitation of victims and to encourage immigrant workers to come forward and report unlawful activities. It can also help protect individuals who are victims of other violent crimes, including domestic violence.
U Visa Eligibility
There are certain criteria that a person must meet to be eligible for a U visa, including the following:
- They have suffered mental or physical abuse because they were the victim of a qualifying criminal activity
- They have information about a specific criminal activity
- They have been, are currently being, or will be helpful in the investigation and prosecution of a criminal activity
- The criminal activity being investigated happened in the United States and violated local, state, or federal law
U Visa Benefits
Once a person has qualified for a U visa based on the criteria listed above, some of the benefits they will get include:
- Up to four years of lawful immigration status
- Authorization to work in the United States
- Derivative benefits for family members who qualify
- After three years, the ability to adjust their immigration status to be a lawful permanent resident
Applying for a U Visa
If you think you qualify for a U visa, you will need to go through the application process. You will need to fill out several forms, as well as a personal statement about what happened during the incident.
Several government entities can authorize a U visa, including law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. Prosecutors, judges, and other authorities who investigate and prosecute criminal activity can also authorize a U visa.
The U visa is still relatively new, and there is a lot of confusion among these various entities as to how it should be certified and authorized. Working with a professional at Frontier Visa can reduce the stress and frustration from the process. They can also answer any questions you might have and help you fill out the paperwork properly.
The last thing you want is your visa application denied because you missed some information or filled out the wrong form.
Protect Yourself From Criminal Abuse
The dream is to come to the United States of America and make a better life for yourself, and more often than not, this happens. However, every so often, some unsavory individuals decide to take advantage of others and engage in criminal activity.
As an immigrant, if you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to get a U visa to protect yourself and continue to pursue your dreams. To find out for sure, consider talking to a professional.