U Visa Lawyers in Houston Helping You Fight Back
Being a victim of a crime can make you feel powerless and like there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. And that’s just the way those who commit these crimes want you to feel. But if you have knowledge of a criminal activity that could be helpful to a U.S. investigation, you may have options.
If the above sounds familiar, you may be able to get help and start the process of taking back your power and staying in the country by talking to an attorney about a U visa. At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC, our attorneys have experience helping clients with U visas and other immigration options and can help you understand which one is right for your situation and what the next steps are.
What Is a U Visa?
A U visa, also known as U nonimmigrant status, is a visa that victims of some crimes can apply for. The U visa status was created in 2000 with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The purpose is to offer crime victims who have been abused a way to stay legally in the United States while also helping law enforcement with the investigation and prosecution of the people responsible for those crimes.
Who Is Eligible for a U Visa?
Because a U visa is a very specific type of visa, you have to fit certain eligibility criteria to receive one. You will need to be able to show proof that you have been a victim of a crime that is covered under the U visa and that you have helpful information about the crime or related criminal activity. You must also be willing to cooperate with the authorities when providing that information as well as helping with other aspects of the case, which could include testifying in court. It’s important to note that the determination of who is eligible for a U visa is entirely up to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If a law enforcement officer talks to you about this option, make sure you speak to an immigration attorney to understand whether you are truly eligible.
How Do You Apply for a U Visa?
To apply for a U visa, you will need to complete form DS-160. You will need to have certification from the law enforcement agency that you have information relevant to the crime that is helpful to the investigation. Once you complete the form and upload your photo, you may need to schedule an interview, but this isn’t always required. If you have an interview, you will need to be able to explain to the interviewer why you meet the qualifications for a U visa and show them your documentation. If everything looks good, the visa will be approved and you will be granted entrance into the United States.
Does a U Visa Allow Me to Sponsor Family Members or Work?
It is possible to bring your family over if you have been granted a U visa. Depending on your age, you may be able to bring over your spouse, children, parents, or unmarried minor siblings. They would also be potentially eligible for U visa status, but they must be eligible for entrance into the United States and not have anything that disqualifies them.
A U visa does allow you to work legally in the United States, and if your family qualifies for U visas because of your status, they will also be eligible to work. A U visa grants the ability to work legally for four years. After this time, you would need to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
When you have questions about immigration status or whether you qualify for a U visa, it’s important to get accurate information from a trusted source. And that’s exactly what you get when you contact the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC. Call 281-606-0800 today to schedule your appointment with a member of our team.