U Visa eligibility in the United States (Updated 2024)

U Visa eligibility in the United States (Updated 2024)

Are you or someone you know a victim of a crime in the United States? If so, you may be eligible for a U Visa, a special visa designed to protect and assist victims of crimes who cooperate with law enforcement. In this updated blog post for 2024, we’ll cover everything you need to know about U Visa eligibility requirements, application process, and how this visa can provide relief and protection for survivors of violence. Stay tuned to learn more about this important immigration option!

Why Legal Status In The US Is Worth Pursuing

Eligibility requirements for U Visa application

The U Visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that is available to victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This visa was created with the aim of encouraging undocumented immigrants to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement without fear of deportation. In this section, we will discuss in detail the eligibility requirements for a U Visa application.

1. Qualifying criminal activity: To be eligible for a U Visa, an individual must have been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity. These include but are not limited to abduction, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, rape, sexual assault, torture, and trafficking.

2. Physical or mental abuse: In addition to being a victim of qualifying criminal activity, an individual must also show that they have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime. This can include injuries sustained during the crime itself or emotional trauma such as depression or anxiety as a result of the experience.

3. Cooperation with law enforcement: One of the key requirements for obtaining a U Visa is cooperation with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This means that victims must be able to provide information about their case and be willing to assist authorities in any way possible.

4. Admissibility into the United States: Applicants must also meet admissibility requirements set by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This includes passing background checks and not having any previous deportations or serious convictions on their record.

5. Certification from law enforcement agency: To apply for a U Visa, individuals must obtain certification from a federal, state or local law enforcement agency confirming their cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

Read more about our immigration law firm 

Changes to U Visa eligibility in 2024

The U visa was created in 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). It provides temporary legal status to non-citizen victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting those crimes. The purpose of the U visa is to encourage victims of crime to come forward without fear of deportation, which can often hinder criminal investigations.

Currently, to be eligible for a U visa, an individual must meet several criteria. These include being a victim of one or more qualifying criminal activities such as domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, or other serious violent crimes. Additionally, the individual must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to this victimization and possess information about the crime that they are willing to share with law enforcement.

However, starting in 2024, there will be new requirements added to these existing criteria. Under the new regulations passed by Congress in December 2020, applicants must also demonstrate that they have been “helpful” to law enforcement during their investigation into the crime committed against them.

Choosing Between Fiancé Visa Or Marriage Green Card

How to apply for a U Visa

Applying for a U Visa in the United States can be a complex and lengthy process. However, it is important to understand the steps involved in order to increase your chances of success. In this section, we will discuss the step-by-step process for applying for a U Visa.

1. Determine eligibility: The first step in applying for a U Visa is to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. As discussed in the previous section, there are certain criteria that must be met, such as being a victim of a qualifying crime and being willing to cooperate with law enforcement. It is important to carefully review these requirements before proceeding with your application.

2. Gather necessary documents: Once you have determined your eligibility, the next step is to gather all necessary documents for your application. This includes police reports, court records, medical records, and any other evidence that supports your claim of being a victim of a qualifying crime.

3. Complete Form I-918: The main form required for a U Visa application is Form I-918 – Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. This form can be found on the official website of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Make sure to fill out the form accurately and provide all required information.

4. Obtain certification from law enforcement: Along with Form I-918, you must also obtain certification from law enforcement stating that you were helpful or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime.

5. Include personal statement: It is recommended to include a personal statement along with your application explaining how you were victimized by the qualifying crime and how it has affected your life.

6. Submit supporting evidence: In addition to Form I-918 and certification from law enforcement, it is important to submit any other relevant supporting evidence such as witness statements or letters from family members attesting to your situation.

7. Pay filing fee: There is no filing fee for Form I-918; however, there may be fees associated with obtaining necessary documents or certifications.

8. Submit your application: Once you have completed all the necessary steps and gathered all required documents, it is time to submit your application. You can do this either by mail or online through the USCIS website.

Contact us if you need help with your case!

Benefits of obtaining a U Visa

The U Visa is a special type of visa available to victims of certain crimes who are currently residing in the United States. This visa offers a path for undocumented immigrants to obtain lawful permanent residence status, also known as a Green Card. In this section, we will discuss the various benefits of obtaining a U Visa.

1. Protection from deportation:
One of the biggest benefits of obtaining a U Visa is protection from deportation. Once an individual has been granted a U Visa, they cannot be deported unless they violate the terms of their visa or commit any crime that would make them ineligible for it.

2. Work authorization:
U Visa holders are eligible for employment authorization in the United States, which allows them to work legally and contribute to the economy without fear of being deported. This benefit can greatly improve their quality of life and provide financial stability.

3. Eligibility for government benefits:
U Visa holders are also eligible for certain government benefits such as food assistance, housing assistance, and healthcare programs. These benefits can help alleviate some financial burdens and improve overall well-being.

4. Pathway to permanent residency:
As mentioned earlier, obtaining a U Visa provides a pathway to lawful permanent resident status in the United States. After holding this visa for three years and meeting all other requirements, individuals can apply for a Green Card through Adjustment of Status or consular processing.

5. Ability to petition family members:
Under certain circumstances, U Visa holders can petition for their family members (spouses, children under 21 years old) to join them in the United States after acquiring lawful permanent resident status.

The Advantages Of Hiring An Immigration Attorney

Alternatives to a U Visa for victims of crime

While the U visa is an important form of relief for victims of crime, there are other options available for those who may not meet the eligibility requirements or have already exhausted their U visa options. In this section, we will explore some alternatives to the U visa that victims of crime can consider.

1. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS): Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a form of relief available to foreign minors who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents in their home country. In order to be eligible for SIJS, the minor must obtain a court order from a state juvenile court that states they cannot reunite with either parent due to abuse, abandonment or neglect and that it is not in their best interest to return to their home country.

2. T Visa: The T visa is another option available for individuals who have been trafficked into the United States or subjected to severe forms of trafficking after entering the country. To be eligible for a T visa, the individual must cooperate with law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases and demonstrate that they would suffer extreme hardship if forced to return to their home country.

3. Asylum: Asylum may be an option for victims of crime who fear persecution if they were to return to their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. In order to qualify for asylum based on past persecution as a victim of crime, individuals must show that they belong to a specific social group targeted by criminals and that their government is unable or unwilling to protect them.

4. VAWA Self-Petition: Victims of domestic violence perpetrated by a US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse may also be eligible for a VAWA self-petition. This allows the victim to petition for their own lawful permanent residence without relying on their abusive spouse.

If you found our article useful, please share it with someone who might need it. And don’t forget to follow us on  Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and LinkedIn, as well as check out all our services at

gillman immigration

Stay updated with the latest immigration news in the United States

We are here

to help you achieve
your american dream

Scroll to Top
This site is registered on as a development site.