U visa lawyer Miami helping immigrants in Miami

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U visas are available to victims of criminal activity in the U.S. However, in order to apply for this visa the crime that transpired needs to be a qualifying crime. One of the most usual crimes is domestic violence. The victim should have suffered significant physical or mental abuse produced by criminal activity.

Applying for a U visa can offer multiple benefits and one of the most important ones is being eligible to apply for a green card after having the visa for at least a year. With the help of a U visa lawyer Miami you can apply for this visa faster. An experienced U visa lawyer Miami understands the law better and will make sure all forms are filled out accordingly.

Immigration options for victims of criminal activity: U Visa, T Visa and VAWA

With so many immigrants women in the U.S. sadly many are vulnerable to exploitation. This is why federal law provides ways to protect these women and you can also hire a U visa lawyer Miami in order to do so . Congress has made changes to immigration laws. For example, we have VAWA created in 1994 to defend women against violence, which includes ways for immigrant women to find support through “self-petitioning.” Then we got the Act of 2000 with new immigration relief forms to help victims of violent crimes (U visas) and victims of sexual trafficking or assault (T visas).

Qualifying crimes for U visa

There are a number of crimes that qualify to apply for a U visa. Although in a typical U visa you will have been the victim of a crime committed on U.S. soil, there are cases where the crime may have violated U.S. laws overseas. Some common examples of this are kidnapping crime and human trafficking. Some examples of qualifying crimes, in general are:

  • Violent crimes: That includes robbery, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, vehicular homicide, stalking and domestic violence.
  • Enslavement crimes: In this category are forced labor, slavery, abduction, kidnapping, criminal restrain, false imprisonment, and debt servitude.
  • Sexual crimes: This covers crimes such as sexual assault, incest, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, prostitution, and female genital mutilation.
  • Obstruction of justice crimes: Witness tampering, withholding evidence, and perjury.
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting: This was addition to the statute made in 2014.

How to apply for a U visa?

In order to apply for this visa you must first complete several steps:

  • First, get a Supp-B from law enforcement.
  • Then you must complete the U-Visa Application, Form I-918.
  • Completing the Waiver Application, Form I-192.
  • Write your Personal Statement.
  • Gather additional documentation to support your case.
  • Putting the application and all the required documents together.
  • Mail application to the government.

Applying for a U-visa will require quite some time and energy. The process can be simpler if you plan it ahead of time and keep all things organized with the help of a U visa lawyer. Family members and friends can also help you obtain documents and put the application together.

I-918 petition for U nonimmigrant status

The purpose of this form is to provide short-term immigration assistance to aliens who are victims of qualifying criminal activity, and also to qualifying family members, as applicable. This form should be filed by the victim and may also include family. You must demonstrate criminal activity in violation of State, Federal and local criminal law.

What do I need to prove? U visa requirements

In order to qualify for a U visa you must show the following:

  • You must have suffered considerable mental and physical abuse caused by criminal activity by a U.S. citizen. Some of the criminal activities include incest, torture, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, prostitution other crimes.
  • Have supporting information regarding the criminal activity.
  • Must be very helpful to state, federal, and local criminal activity investigation and prosecution. For minors under 16 years of age, the parents must be the ones cooperating with law enforcement.
  • Must qualify for waiver of inadmissibility or be admissible under immigration law.
U visa for victims of criminal activity

Requesting a U visa petition outside of United States

When a petition for U Nonimmigrant Status is approved by the USCIS and you are living outside the United States, you must fill out the application at the United States Embassy or Consulate in the country of permanent residence. Although you can apply in any consulate, it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside the place of permanent residence. Waiting times for interviews can vary by location, season, and the visa category, etc. This is why you should make sure all forms are filled out correctly ahead of time. You request you visa appointment right after receiving the Form I-797 from the USCIS stating your U nonimmigrant petition was approved. You should not wait for the United States embassy or consulate to contact you. Interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages, that is 13 years or younger and 80 years and older. For applicants between ages of 14-79 interviews are required with some exceptions for renewals.

What can a lawyer do if you are found Inadmissible?

An immigration attorney can help you with putting together an I-192 waiver application, especially when dealing with the more complex inadmissible grounds. A well-versed lawyer can help you decide which grounds of inadmissibility may apply in your specific situation and assist you in completing your U visa application with an I-192 waiver.

Main benefits of U visa

Some of the benefits of U visa include:

  • Having a lawful status for four years.
  • Being authorized to work in the United States.
  • Qualifying family members will also get benefits.
  • You will be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident after 3 years.

Documents and forms to file by petitioner and U visa derivatives

The crime victim applying for U status is the principal applicant and when accepted will be given a U-1 status allowing the applicant to live and work in the United States for a specific period of time no longer than four years. Principal applicants are also able to apply for derivative U status for some members in the family with Form 918A, of the U visa Recipient. You can do that either at the time of the application or at the time the approval is received. Depending on the age of the applicant and in some cases, the age of the family member and their marital status, some relatives may also qualify for a derivative U status.

U visa certification

T visas for victims of trafficking

The Victims of trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) was passed by Congress in October 2000 with the “T” non-immigrant status. Human trafficking is in a way modern day slavery in which individuals are lured with false promises of a better future, employment opportunities, etc. Sadly, many times traffickers take advantage of unemployed individuals with a low economic condition. The T Visa protects these victims and allows them to remain in the U.S. in order for the human trafficking to be investigated and prosecuted.

A U visa lawyer Miami can assist you through the whole process

Talk to a U visa attorney today and find out about ways to ease the whole application process. Gallardo Law Firm sympathizes with those who have been victimized by a criminal offender, particularly when the offender is a United States citizen. Our Firm is dedicated to our U visa clients. We understand how awful can be being undocumented in the United States and on top of that being abused by a criminal, can be devastating. Allow us to provide us with the greatest chance to receive a U visa to help you move forward with your life in the United States.


Visa Waiver Program

Common Questions and Answers about the U visa

This generally doesn’t happen but it’s possible. When you submit your U visa application, immigration will have your address and it’ll be easy for them to find you. In the event this happens, call your attorney immediately to see your options. You can also get the approval of your U visa even after deportation. Although we don’t see this happening, remember that you are in the United States illegally therefore you are at risk of being deported any time.
Protective orders are good as they can stop the abuser from contacting, attacking, assaulting, and telephoning you or other family members. You don’t have to be a citizen or permanent resident in order to request these. Besides this prospective order, you can also ask for child custody, child support, and expel the abuser from your home.
There are a couple of things you can do as you wait:
  • Not leaving the country.
  • Don’t commit any crimes.
  • Be an active participant in your community.
  • Notify your U visa attorney immediately if you make any changes or if you have any questions or concerns.
This generally takes about a year and a half but this is just an estimate and not a guarantee. For instance, Form I-918 may take a different time to be processed depending on your particular case. Also, the USCIS may request additional information, which will put your file on hold and consequently delay the process.
You must gather a few things before the interview:
  • Passport: This must be a valid passport to travel in the U.S for at least half a year after your period of stay. When there are more people in your passport, each person will have to submit a separate application.
  • Form DS-160 of the Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • If you are required to pay before the interview, bring the application fee receipt.
  • Photo: You can upload your picture when completing the Form online. When this fails, then you must bring a printed photo with the photographs requirements specified on the government site.
  • Notice of action: That is form I-797 showing approval of a U nonimmigrant petition.
The consular officer will determine if you are qualified to receive the visa during the interview. Also, which category is suitable depending on the reasons why you travel. You will have to establish that you meet all the legal requirements to receive the visa. There will be digital fingerprinting, depending on the location where you go for the interview. You may also need further administrative processing after the interview for which you will be notified by a consular officer.
Processing times can vary. However, you may expect to receive a decision within the next six to twelve months. USCIS doesn’t like to publish its processing times probably due to each case being different, some taking longer than others.
Individuals applying for the U visa, that is the main applicants, will be able to obtain a work permit right after the visa is approved. The derivative U visa applicants will have a work permit together with the I-918A Form. Derivative applicants may choose to file the I-795 Form after the U visa has been approved, at any time throughout its validity.