U visas are available to individuals who are victims of certain types of criminal activity, or who possess information concerning such activity. All applicants are fingerprinted for criminal background checks and are not required to undergo an interview with a USCIS examiner. Applicants are eligible for work permits upon approval. Individuals granted U visa status may adjust to legal permanent resident status three years after they are granted U visa status. Derivative visas are available to spouses, children, parents, or in some cases, siblings of the principal applicant. There is an annual limit of 10,000 U visas, applicable only to principals and not to derivatives. If no visa number is available at the time the application is approved, the applicant is put on a waiting list and given temporary immigration status and work authorization until a number becomes available.
Eligibility Requirements for the U visa:
- An individual must be a victim, indirect victim or qualifying bystander who suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as the result of a qualifying crime of: rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes; or similar activity.
- The victim, indirect victim or qualifying bystander possesses/possessed information concerning the criminal activity.
- Law enforcement must certify that the victim was, is, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation OR prosecution of the criminal activity.
- The criminal activity must have violated a United States law or occurred in the United States (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the United States.
- The victim must be admissible to the United States, or qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility factors.