The Best Immigration Attorney Advice on U Visas

In October 2000, a new category of immigration benefit became available to victims of violent crimes, the U Visa. The policy grew out of concerns that undocumented immigrants would be afraid of deportation if they called law enforcement to report a crime.

Our government realized that the U Visa would effectively accomplish two things  :

  • stop criminals from targeting immigrants
  • let immigrants know that they should not fear deportation if they report a crime

Over the last decade, approximately 80,000 U Visas have been granted for offenses ranging from domestic violence to surviving relatives of immigrants who perished on 9/11.

Three components are needed to make a solid claim for a U Visa:

1. The qualifying crime itself: a list of about 30 offenses covers a number of acts involving physical harm, or placing an immigrant in fear of injury.  There does not have to be a conviction.

2. Proof of injury, physical or psychological.  This evidence can be shown with medical reports and/or psychological evaluations.

3. Cooperation (Helpfulness with law enforcement).  A police report, or testimony in open court are typical examples of this cooperation. Also there MUST BE a signed certification from a police officer, prosecutor, judge, or another identified official – the list is very long of who may sign Immigration Form 918B.

Please be very careful if you (or a loved one or someone who you know) is a potential U Visa candidate.  THIS IS DIFFICULT WORK. The issues are obviously very sensitive.

For example, a women who has been sexually assaulted may feel much more at ease speaking with a female attorney. My firm has successfully handled dozens of U Visas, and it is very common for our clients who are female victims to work personally with our team members who are women.  This strategy is similar to the common process in many law enforcement units that assign female investigators and agents to sex crimes.

Final points:

  • Only 10,000 U Visas may be granted annually.
  • After 3 years, a U Visa holder may apply for a green card.
  • A U Visa beneficiary may be allowed a waiver of his or her own violations of immigration and even criminal law.
  • We have won U Visas for immigrants with deportation orders.
  • We have worked on claims for U Visa applicants in many states.

I reiterate how these cases are very complicated and sensitive, but with a top immigration lawyer you have a good chance of success.  The best immigration attorney advice on U Visas? Talk with one of the select few lawyers out there who knows how to win these cases.

If you have any questions about U visas, or any immigration-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact myself or any one of the immigration lawyers at our firm.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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