When it comes to securing a visa to stay in the United States, those that are family or employment based are likely the first that come to mind for most readers. The reality however, is that there are multiple grounds upon which a visa could be pursued. So many in fact that the average person interested is likely unaware that there may be one that is applicable.
One that has only been around since 2008 is the U visa. Each year, 10,000 petitions for U-1 nonimmigrant status are granted. That limit is statutorily prescribed.
Those who are eligible for this visa are the victim of certain crimes, including:
- Domestic violence.
- Sexual assault.
- Human trafficking.
In addition, as a result of being placed in that position, they must have suffered substantial abuse either physically or mentally and have been helpful to law enforcement as they seek to conduct investigations into those crimes or prosecute them.
It was recently announced that the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015 had been reached.
Individuals who did not receive a U visa this year should receive a letter informing them that they have been placed on a wait list. In addition, that letter will include information regarding other options available to them in the meantime. The applications already received will continue to be reviewed and those who qualify will be informed when a visa is once again available. The first day of fiscal year 2016, is Oct. 1 2014.
Readers who were not aware of this particular visa probably are not aware of others that are available as well. An immigration lawyer can help individuals determine whether this, or another type of visa, could be available to them.
Source: USCIS, “USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas for 6th Straight Fiscal Year,” Dec. 11, 2014