The U-1 is a nonimmigrant visa issued to victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or psychological abuse, and have cooperated with authorities in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. The U-1 Visa has been created to protect victims of criminal activity and help them rebuild their lives in the United States.
If your U visa is approved, you will be able to work legally in the U.S. for four years. Your spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany you. Best of all, after three years in the U.S. on a U-1 Visa, you can apply for permanent residency.
The main requirement to be eligible for the U-1 Visa is to have suffered a qualifying crime, have information about the crime, and be willing to cooperate with the authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. However, there are other factors to consider:
Among the qualifying criminal activities are:
It also applies to attempt, conspiracy, or incitement to commit any of the above and related offenses, including any activity in which the elements of the offense are substantially similar.
Yes! Usually, the U visa has a duration of four years, but you can apply for an extension if you meet any of these criteria:
If you believe your case merits an extension, contact us through the form at the bottom of the page and we will be happy to guide you.
Only 10,000 principal applicants receive this type of visa each year. However, there is no limit for family members deriving status from the principal applicant, such as spouses, children, or other eligible family members.
If the limit is reached before all petitions are adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list for principal or derivative petitioners who are still waiting for a response.
It is important to note that applying for a U-1 Visa can be complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney to support you through the process. Frank Symphorien-Saavedra, our founder attorney, is Board Certified as expert in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Florida Bar and has helped many victims of criminal activity obtain their U visa over the years.
Obtaining a U visa takes a long time since they are closely related to criminal investigations. USCIS can take 12 to 18 months to process and approve a U-1 Visa, however, these timelines can be extended significantly depending on the case.
Immediate family members of the U-1 visa holder may benefit from the status and receive a derivative U visa from categories 2 to 5, depending on their relationship.
The spouse of a U-1 visa holder may apply for a derivative U-2 visa. They may also be included in the U-1 visa holder's application if they are already married at the time of application.
Unmarried children under 21 years old of a U-1 visa holder are eligible to apply for a derivative U-3 visa.
If the U-1 visa holder is under 21 years old, their parents may also be eligible to apply for a derivative U-4 visa.
For siblings to qualify for a derivative U-5 visa, the U-1 visa holder must be under 21 years old.
Our team of attorneys, including Frank Symphorien-Saavedra who is certified as an expert in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Florida Bar, is ready to guide you through the entire U visa process. Call us today at 407-802-1717, or fill out the online form provided on this page and we will contact you shortly.