It’s heartbreaking to consider, but everyday thousands of people in the United States are victims of violent crimes. In 2017, the FBI estimated that 1,247,321 violent crimes occurred nationwide throughout the year. Being victimized is naturally extremely traumatic, but even more so if you are afraid to seek help because you’re afraid you’ll be deported because you aren’t a U.S. citizen. This makes the pain of being the victim of a violent crime even worse and the healing even more difficult. Fortunately, the U.S. government has recognized this issue and created a way for undocumented victims of crimes to come forward while still being able to stay in the United States: The U-Visa.
Who qualifies for a U-visa?
You need to meet the following three criteria to qualify for a U-visa:
- You were the victim of a violent or psychological crime in the United States. Many different crimes can qualify you. An immigration attorney can help you determine whether or not the crime you experienced fits the bill.
- You displayed willingness to assist law enforcement. You must have cooperated with law enforcement to aid in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This might mean describing the suspect or testifying in court. The police department or other law enforcement agency must certify that you helped them or were willing to do so. If you were under 16 at the time of the crime, you can still be eligible if you communicated through a representative.
- You are admissible. To be considered admissible, your record must be clear of crime, fraud, or immigration violation. If you are inadmissible, you may still have a chance to get a U-visa with certain waivers.
How to Apply for a U-Visa
To apply for a U-visa, you will need to fill out a petition. It will include a personal statement that describes the crime that took place. You should work with an immigration attorney to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes in your application, as mistakes can be expensive both financially and in terms of the security of your immigration status.
If you are an undocumented immigrant and you’ve been the victim of a violent crime, you don’t have to stay silent. You deserve the same protection and justice as a U.S. citizen. Call Villegas Law Office today to discuss your situation and learn how you may be able to transform a traumatic event into a more secure future in the United States. You can reach us at (956) 412-0707.