A “U” visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to victims of certain crimes (e.g. rape, assault, attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, involuntary servitude, domestic violence, stalking) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse. The crime (which must have occurred in the United States or in violation of U.S. laws) must be serious and generally violent in nature. Further, to be eligible for a U visa, a victim of a crime must be willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The U visa was created by the United States Congress as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) in 2000 to encourage victims to report crimes without fear of deportation and to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute certain criminal cases.
To be eligible for a U visa, an individual must:
1. Be a victim of a qualifying criminal activity that occurred in the United States or in violation of U.S. laws.