Too often undocumented immigrants are victimized by exploitation, fraud, and extortion. Many of these crimes go unreported because undocumented immigrants are fearful that contacting the authorities may get themselves in trouble with the immigration authorities. The U nonimmigrant visa (“U visa”) can provide some relief to victims of crime by turning their misfortune into an opportunity to obtain legal status.
The U visa is provided for victims of certain serious crimes who are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress initially created the U visa in October 2000 to combat human trafficking and violence. Since then the program has found broader application and other crimes, such as robbery and assault, have been added to the list of qualifying crimes.
It is important to note that victims of the following crimes, which frequently occur in immigrant communities, also qualify for a U visa:
- Fraud by “notaries” (individuals who represent themselves as qualified to offer legal services but have no such qualifications)
- Workplace exploitation (unsafe conditions, forced labor or withholding payment for work based on unlawful status)
- Crimes against children – Parents of children who are victims of a crime qualify for a U visa even if the child is a US citizen.
If you think you have been a victim of a crime or have questions about the U visa, please contact The Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. for a consultation.