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Understanding more about U nonimmigrant status - II

In today's post, we'll conclude our ongoing discussion of U-visas, the life changing -- and potentially lifesaving -- document that enables those who have been victimized by some form of abuse and who provided assistance to law enforcement to remain on U.S. soil for four years and apply for permanent residence.

As always, our purpose in doing this is to provide people with some much-needed clarity on an important aspect of U.S. immigration law.

What type of criminal activity qualifies under the U-visa program?

While the list is rather extensive, some of the crimes that a person can assist law enforcement officials with investigating and/or prosecuting, and gain U-visa eligibility in the process include domestic violence, stalking, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, trafficking and murder.

What documents need to be submitted when applying for a U-visa?

Applicants must submit the formal petition for U nonimmigrant status (Form I-918), a personal statement outlining the criminal activity in question, and a document signed by an authorized law enforcement official explaining how the applicant assisted with the investigation or prosecution of unlawful criminal activity (Form I-918, Supplement B).

Is it possible to secure an extension on a U-visa?

Holders of U-visas can secure an extension if it's requested by law enforcement, necessary due to consular processing delays or other exceptional circumstances apply. It should also be noted that it is automatically extended upon the filing and during the pendency of a green card application.

Are there any special requirements that a U-visa holder must satisfy in relation to the green card application?

While a complete breakdown of the requirements that must be satisfied in order of U-visa holders to secure a green card is beyond the scope of a single blog post, two of the more noteworthy prerequisites include:

  • They must have been physically present here in the U.S. for at least three consecutive years while holding U nonimmigrant status
  • They must have not unreasonably refused to assist law enforcement while holding U nonimmigrant status

Please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about securing a U-visa or any other types of visa.

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