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Los Angeles U Visa Lawyers

What is a U Visa?

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The United States Congress created the “U” nonimmigrant visa when it passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. U visa status is primarily for victims who’ve suffered mentally or physically due to certain crimes.

U visa holders have permission to remain in the United States for four years, legally work, and potentially obtain a green card. However, the victim must be willing and able to assist law enforcement in investigating the crime.

The U visa offers immigrant victims of crimes the opportunity to speak out against their abusers while still protecting their right to remain in the U.S.

At Best Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles, our experienced U visa lawyers are here to help you determine your eligibility and obtain a U visa. Our immigration attorneys are compassionate, skilled, and determined to help you stay safe and remain in the U.S. for as long as possible.

Who is Eligible for a U Visa in LA?

It’s important to note that the USCIS is limited to issuing 10,000 U visas annually. Once that number is reached, you may be given “deferred” status and put on a waiting list. Eligibility for a U Visa requires the following:

  • You are the victim of a qualifying crime
  • Due to the crime, you’ve suffered significant physical or mental abuse
  • You have information about the crime and are willing to provide it to law enforcement
  • You’re deemed “helpful or likely to be helpful” in the prosecution of the crime
  • The illegal activity occurred in the U.S.
  • You are “admissible” or received a waiver to enter the U.S.

Qualifying crimes can include but are not limited to abduction, blackmail, false imprisonment, felonious assault, sexual exploitation, rape, prostitution, trafficking, murder, etc. It’s important to note that other crimes similar to qualifying crimes are included.

Can a U Visa Be Denied?

Yes, U visas can get denied for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons for U visa denials in Los Angeles are:

  1. Lack of evidence or missing evidence
  2. The petitioner is inadmissible
  3. The petitioner abandons the petition
  4. The petition doesn’t demonstrate a qualifying crime or significant harm done to them
  5. The petitioner wasn’t helpful to law enforcement

If your request for U nonimmigrant status is denied, your immigration status will remain the same as it was before your petition.

With that in mind, if you’re an undocumented immigrant, you may be held in detention and deported. However, you can appeal an unfavorable decision with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) within 30 days of the decision.

Contact a proven lawyer for U visas in Los Angeles to discuss your legal options.

Can I Still Get a U Visa if I Have a Deportation Order?

If you’ve received a removal or deportation order, you may still be able to apply for a U Visa with USCIS. Additionally, you must submit a request for a “stay of removal” with DHS.

If your stay is approved, your deportation order may be halted while USCIS decides on your U visa petition. Obtaining a U Visa while being deported can be challenging without the help of a skilled U visa lawyer in LA.

The outcome of your case depends on your circumstances, the evidence you can provide, and the caliber of legal representation you have on your side.

What’s the Difference Between a U Visa and VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects noncitizen victims of abuse. Generally, a VAWA visa allows victims of abuse who are not U.S. citizens to become lawful permanent citizens without needing their abuser to petition for them.

A VAWA visa is similar to a U visa. However, there are a few key differences. VAWA is geared explicitly towards domestic violence victims, while U visas include many other types of crimes. Additionally, VAWA petitioners must prove that they are of “good moral character” as well as admissible to the U.S.

Whether you are considering a VAWA or U visa, it’s typically in your best interest to consult with a proven immigration lawyer in Los Angeles to learn more about your options.

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