ContractsCounsel Logo

U Visa

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 8,717 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with an U Visa?

Post Project Now

A U visa grants nonimmigrant status to victims assisting law enforcement in investigations or prosecutions, providing temporary legal residency. It aims to safeguard and assist those who have experienced severe physical or emotional harm due to these crimes yet are reluctant to reveal it for fear of being deported. The U visa encourages victims to come forward, support the police, and get the required aid and security. Holders of U visas may qualify for legal permanent residence (a "green card") in the US after fulfilling specific requirements. This initiative shows how committed the US government is to assisting crime victims and enhancing public safety. Let's read more about it.

Essential Elements to Obtain a U Visa

There are several steps and conditions involved in applying for a U visa. One must submit a thorough application package for a U visa that must contain the essential elements listed below:

  • Cooperation with Law Enforcement: Those applying for U visas must show cooperation with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes. Typically, this collaboration includes giving testimony, information, and help to law enforcement organizations. A Law Enforcement Certification, Form I-918, Supplement B is typically necessary to formally recognize this collaboration.
  • Form I-918: One starts the procedure by filling out and submitting Form I-918, sometimes called the "Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status." This main application document completes the procedure and provides in-depth details regarding the applicant's eligibility.
  • Law Enforcement Certificate, Form I-918, Supplement B: The applicant must next receive a law enforcement certification, which is normally offered by a law enforcement agency or another appropriate certifying authority, after submitting their application. This key document attests to the victim's active participation in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, which is a requirement for qualifying for a U visa.
  • Law Enforcement Certification: U visa holders can temporarily live and work in the United States and may be eligible to seek lawful permanent residence (a green card) after satisfying certain conditions. The law enforcement organization must finish Form I-918, Supplement B, and provide applicants with this certification.
  • Detailed Personal Statement: They submit a detailed personal statement in addition to the application form. The particular illegal action endured, the mental or bodily injury suffered, and the victim's unshakable dedication to helping law enforcement are all described in depth in this account. It emphasizes the importance of the U visa by providing a very individualized analysis of the case.
  • Documentation: Various supporting materials are included in the application bundle. This might be in the form of police reports, court documents, medical records, witness affidavits, or any other documentation pertaining to the crime and the victim's participation. These resources are essential for supporting the assertions made in the application.
  • Supplemental Evidence: In addition to the required documents, the victim may offer additional proof. This might include notes from therapy or counseling sessions, visual proof, or any other relevant documentation that adds to our knowledge of the psychological, physical, and emotional damage caused by the crime.
  • Passport-style Photographs: The application packet comes with two passport-style pictures of the applicant. According to established guidelines, these photos are used to verify the applicant's identification.
  • Affidavit of Support, Form I-918, Supplement A, Submission: The applicant must submit a separate Form I-918, Supplement A for each qualified family member who is applying for a derivative U visa. This feature emphasizes the benefits that could also apply to close family members.
  • Application Fee: The cost of processing the U visa application, which includes evaluating eligibility, running background checks, and carrying out other administrative tasks necessary for reviewing and making a decision on the case, is partially offset by this fee. It plays a vital part in funding the different processes involved in reviewing U visa applications, ensuring that the applicants sufficiently cover the expenses of examination and decision-making.
  • Legal Representation: Although it is not a required step in the application process, the applicant may decide to hire an immigration lawyer or seek legal counsel. This is frequently highly advised since legal professionals provide key advice, help with gathering essential evidence, and deftly handle the challenging application procedure.

Benefits of Receiving a U Visa

People who have been the victims of crimes and have assisted law enforcement in their investigation or prosecution are eligible for a number of important privileges under the U visa. The following are a few of the U visa's main advantages:

  • Giving Temporary Legal Status: Those with U visas are given temporary legal status while they are in the country. Victims can reside and work lawfully in the nation throughout the four years when this status is in effect.
  • Satisfying the Eligibility for a Green Card: After three years of continuous stay in the United States as a U Visa holder, persons can apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card). This gives a more solid and permanent immigration status.
  • Allowing Work Authorization for Family Members: The U Visa allows derivative beneficiaries, such as spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18, to work in the United States. This means they may lawfully work in the United States, increasing their financial security and independence while still supporting the family unit.
  • Providing New Opportunity: U Visa holders who face inadmissibility owing to immigration offenses or criminal convictions may be eligible for waivers. These exemptions allow people to enter or remain in the United States, providing a second shot for individuals seeking rehabilitation and a new beginning in the nation.
  • Encouraging Humanitarian Protection: The U visa program acts as a type of humanitarian protection. It also encourages people to report crimes. It encourages victims to disclose the offenses and assist law enforcement, who may otherwise be reluctant to do so out of fear of retaliation or deportation. The U visa supports individual victims while also assisting in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity by offering a safe and lawful avenue to remain in the United States.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Ken S.

5 projects on CC
View Profile

Brian S.

13 projects on CC
View Profile

Bryan B.

214 projects on CC
View Profile

Michael M.

510 projects on CC
View Profile

Key Terms for U Visas

  • Adjustment of Status: This is the application form used to apply for lawful permanent residence (a green card) after having a nonimmigrant status for three years and fulfilling other prerequisites.
  • Work Authorization: U visa holders are given work authorization, allowing them to look for and accept employment in the United States legally.
  • Criminal Activity Report: This record normally contains information from the police, the courts, and other sources on the offense. The U visa application requires that one prove eligibility.
  • Personal Statement: A thorough explanation of the crime the applicant encountered, how it has affected them, and how they have cooperated with law enforcement. It gives the application context and humanizes it.
  • Law Enforcement Agency: The local, state, or federal law enforcement agency in charge of looking into and bringing charges for the applicable offense. The organization offers law enforcement certification.

Final Thoughts on U Visas

The U visa provides a lifeline to victims of eligible crimes who are willing to assist with law enforcement, serving as an essential humanitarian protection mechanism in the United States. It is a program created to help those who have gone through horrific experiences who may otherwise be unwilling to report crimes out of fear of retaliation or deportation by offering them assistance, safety, and a road to legal status. It demonstrates the idea that victims of crime should not feel terror but rather should have the ability to seek restitution, make a fresh start, and succeed in a safe environment. Although the program has contributed to helping countless people and families, to benefit from the chances it offers fully, it must be informed about its requirements and any modifications to its policy.

If you want free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our U Visa Lawyers

Thomas S. on ContractsCounsel
View Thomas
5.0 (4)
Member Since:
August 11, 2023

Thomas S.

Free Consultation
Boulder, Colorado
28 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO, NY
University of Colorado

28+ years experience. Licensed in Colorado and New York. Areas of expertise: estate planning, wills and trusts; trademark law; patent law; contracts and licensing; small business organization and counseling.

Angela H. on ContractsCounsel
View Angela
4.3 (1)
Member Since:
May 23, 2023

Angela H.

Free Consultation
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, PA
University of Dayton

Angela Hayden is an accomplished and driven attorney with a diverse professional background that sets her apart. Having served as a former Assistant Public Defender in Allegheny County, Angela acquired invaluable expertise in navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system. Her trial experience spans a wide range of cases, from minor retail theft to complex criminal homicide, demonstrating her ability to deliver successful outcomes for her clients. Prior to her focus on criminal defense, Angela honed her skills in public policy and political consulting through her work with both the Pennsylvania and United States House of Representatives. This experience provided her with a deep understanding of the intricacies of public policy and the ability to offer strategic guidance to clients. Angela's career also took her to a civil defense firm, where she traveled across the country, defending clients in litigation. This experience enhanced her ability to handle complex civil matters and strengthened her litigation skills. In addition to her expertise in criminal defense and civil litigation, Angela has demonstrated her proficiency in employment law, providing guidance and consultation to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Her keen insight into employment law matters ensures that businesses operate within legal boundaries while fostering a positive work environment. Furthermore, Angela is a licensed realtor, well-versed in residential real estate transactions. This additional knowledge allows her to offer comprehensive legal support to clients involved in real estate matters, ensuring their interests are protected throughout the process. Angela holds a degree from Hampton University and obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law. She is pursuing a Master of Business Administration. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, demonstrating her commitment to providing exceptional legal services in multiple jurisdictions. With her extensive experience and passion for achieving favorable outcomes for her clients, Angela Hayden is a dedicated advocate ready to guide you through your legal journey.

Nancy S. on ContractsCounsel
View Nancy
Member Since:
May 21, 2023

Nancy S.

Free Consultation
Houston, Texas
41 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston

Seasoned corporate, business and real estate attorney with 30 years experience managing private practice groups and in-house legal functions for publicly traded, privately held, and family companies.

Bethany T. on ContractsCounsel
View Bethany
Member Since:
May 22, 2023

Bethany T.

Free Consultation
Florida and California
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, FL
Chapman University School of Law

I am an experienced family law attorney licensed in California and Florida with over 13 years of experience.

Maria M. on ContractsCounsel
View Maria
Member Since:
May 21, 2023

Maria M.

Free Consultation
North Carolina
27 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC, NJ, PA
Temple University Beasley School of Law

I have worked for over 20 years in the areas of family law, business formation, contracts and real estate law. In the area of family law, I represent clients in all areas of family law including child custody, child support, spousal support and marital property division as well as preparing prenuptial and separation agreements. I am experienced in real estate law, including commercial and residential leases, preparing various types of real estate related contracts. I am also experienced in business formation among other business law matters. I currently work in the area of grant management with the Small Business Administration.

Don K. on ContractsCounsel
View Don
Member Since:
May 22, 2023

Don K.

Free Consultation
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in AL
Lincoln Memorial University

Oliver Keene is not your typical attorney. With a personal touch and a passion for helping others, he goes above and beyond to provide exceptional legal services. Born and raised in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, Oliver understands the value of hard work and perseverance. His small-town upbringing instilled in him a deep sense of community and a commitment to making a difference in people's lives. Oliver's journey in the legal field began with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Bluefield University. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law, where he excelled in his studies and developed a strong foundation in law. Throughout his career, Oliver has gained invaluable experience working as a public defender, an attorney advisor for the Small Business Administration, and in various legal roles. With a focus on estate planning and business law, Oliver is dedicated to helping individuals and families protect their assets, plan for the future, and navigate the complexities of the legal system. His approachable demeanor, attention to detail, and genuine care for his clients set him apart. Oliver's clients can trust that he will go the extra mile to ensure their legal needs are met with the utmost professionalism and personalized service. Outside of his legal practice, Oliver enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, exploring the great outdoors, and indulging in his passion for hunting and fishing. His commitment to serving military families is evident in his offering of discounted services as a token of gratitude for their sacrifices. When you choose Oliver Keene as your attorney, you're not just hiring a legal professional - you're gaining a trusted advisor and a compassionate advocate. With Oliver by your side, you can have confidence that your legal matters will be handled with the highest level of expertise and care.

Dean S. on ContractsCounsel
View Dean
Member Since:
May 22, 2023

Dean S.

Free Consultation
San Diego, California
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of Michigan

Dean represents client in all manners of tax controversy and provides comprehensive business consulting to corporations, LLCs, and non-profits. He has worked with multi-national companies, but most enjoys assisting small businesses with all legal matters from formation to dissolution. Dean routinely represents individuals and businesses before the IRS and various state taxation agencies. From audits to appeals, he works closely with his clients to reach favorable outcomes and beneficial resolutions. Though he assists many clients in his home state of California, Dean values working with a diverse clientele throughout the country.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now
U Visa lawyers by city
See All U Visa Lawyers
related contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer


Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city