Recognizing that fear of deportation was preventing victims of crimes like human trafficking and domestic violence among immigrants without papers from reporting these crimes, Congress created the non-immigrant U Visa Green Card program. The visa grants undocumented immigrant crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement permission to live and work in the United States with a path to citizenship.
But the government issues a limited number of U Visas every year, and most qualified applicants are put on a waiting list. Obtaining U Visa green card can be difficult, especially when the application is not correctly filed. The best chance at success is with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer. Call 407-644-2466 for a consultation with the Orlando Immigration Attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. We can help you with your application.
- U Visa Cooperation with Law Enforcement
To successfully apply for a U Visa, you must have a certificate from a law enforcement agency that shows that you were the victim of a crime and that you were helpful in solving or prosecuting a crime. In other words, it’s not enough to merely report that you were the victim of a crime, but you must have demonstrated a willingness to help police catch the criminal(s). You must also be able to show that the crime caused you substantial physical or psychological harm. The program applies to specific criminal activities, generally serious felonies such as kidnapping, rape, or domestic abuse.
While well-intended, the laws creating the program are vaguely worded, which can make it difficult to get a U Visa. In addition, there is a formidable backlog of applications, meaning people can spend years on the waiting list. Fortunately, the law has been amended to allow those on the waiting list eligible for work permits and deferred deportation status. Visa applicants who have applied but are not yet on the waiting list may also be eligible for work permits.
The T Visa is a related Green Card program for survivors of sex trafficking in which the requirements for cooperation with law enforcement may not be so stringent.
- Help with Getting a Non-immigrant Green Card
There are quite a few potential complications that make it difficult to get a U Visa on your own. For instance, the certification required from law enforcement must state that the applicant “has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity upon which his or her petition is based.” But there is no clear definition of what “helpful” means. Different jurisdictions or branches of law enforcement may have very different ideas about what exactly constitutes being helpful. There have also been cases where the police seem to have been reluctant to issue a certification to a victim who clearly deserves it. Because of that it is crucial for a U Visa applicant to have the expertise of an immigration lawyer on their side that will fight to make sure the immigrant rights are protected.
An experienced and aggressive immigration attorney knows how to deal with these obstacles. The best chance for successfully getting a U Visa Green Card that can set you on the path to U.S. citizenship is by hiring an experienced and aggressive immigration attorney. It’s very important to get your application right the first time. For help with your visa application, talk to the Orlando Immigration Lawyers at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 to get started.