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U Visas For Victims Of Criminal Activity

Many people come to the United States from other countries in hopes of finding a better life. Sadly, though, many foreign nationals who enter the country become victims of criminal acts perpetrated by their employers or other individuals. Foreign-born victims of unlawful activity may be reluctant to report such activity to the authorities out of fear of being removed or losing their lawful status. Fortunately, they may be eligible for U visas, which are visas that allows crime victims to stay in the United States. If you were the target of criminal behavior and are interested in obtaining a U visa, it is advisable to hire an experienced attorney to assist you with the process.

The Boston individual representation immigration attorneys of O’Neil Hauser Mansfield, P.C., can advise you of your options and help you compile the evidence needed to avoid further harm and lawfully remain in the country. Using institutional knowledge and fresh perspectives, our attorneys have the skills necessary to guide you through the U Visa process. From our Boston office, we represent clients throughout the state and across the country.

Qualifying For A U Visa

People who have suffered either physical or mental abuse as the result of criminal activity, and can assist the U.S. government in pursuing wrongdoers, are eligible for what is known as U nonimmigrant status (U visa). Congress created the U visa in 2000 with the goal of helping law enforcement agents investigate and prosecute criminal behavior. People granted U visas may be able to remain in the United States for an extended period or, in some cases, permanently.
With a U visa, an individual can:
  • Legally live in the U.S. for up to four years (with extensions granted in certain cases where someone provides help to the government as part of an ongoing investigation)
  • Eventually apply for permanent residency (green card)
  • Bring certain family members to the U.S.
There is an extensive application process involved in getting a U visa, including thorough documentation of the physical and/or mental violence suffered by the applicant. Our Boston law firm can help you through every step of the process and make sure all family members who meet the eligibility requirements can have a chance to come to the U.S. as well. First, they must be victims of qualifying criminal acts and must have sustained significant mental or physical abuse due to the fact that they are victims of such crimes. Qualifying crimes include kidnapping, obstruction of justice, sexual exploitation, slave trade, felonious assault, extortion, fraud in foreign labor contracting, torture, stalking, witness tampering, and unlawful criminal restraint. The attempt, solicitation to commit, and conspiracy to commit any of the noted crimes qualifies as well.

Secondly, they must have information about the crimes, and either were, are, or will be helpful to law enforcement agents investigating or prosecuting the crimes. Additionally, the crimes must either have happened in the United States or violated United States laws. Finally, people must be admissible to the United States, or if they are not admissible, must apply for a waiver to be eligible for U visas.

The Process Of Seeking A U Visa

People applying for U visas must complete the appropriate forms and gather evidence demonstrating their harm. Generally, this may include narrative statements describing the crimes and how they were impacted by them, medical records, police reports, affidavits from medical providers or people who have knowledge of the crime, and court orders. People granted U visas may be able to bring certain family members to the United States after their visas have been approved. U visa holders who are over 21 may petition for U visas for their spouses or children, while those under 21 may petition for U visas for their parents, spouses, children, and unmarried siblings under 18.

Meet With A Trusted Boston Immigration Attorney

It is an unfortunate reality that many foreign nationals living in the United States suffer harm due to criminal activity, but there are measures they can take to escape abuse and retain their right to remain in the country. If you are from another country and are the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for a U visa, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At O’Neil Hauser Mansfield, P.C., our trusted Boston lawyers understand the hardships encountered by noncitizens who are subject to unlawful behavior, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf.

Many of our attorneys are bilingual, and we offer translation services in several languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian, French, and Arabic. We maintain a strong relationship with numerous government agencies, which we have developed over our many years in practice, and we are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. To schedule a consultation, complete our online form or call 617-855-0444 to set up a meeting.