This visa is to encourage immigrant communities to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to fight crime, since immigrant populations and are hesitant to cooperate with the police or prosecutor because they believe they may be deported – and are then likely to be more vulnerable to be targets of criminal activity.
If an individual has been the victim of certain crimes, such as domestic violence, armed robbery, or attempted homicide, AND the individual cooperates with law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution, the individual may be eligible for a U visa. It is not required that the case be completed or that even an arrest be made for a U visa to be granted.
One of the positive features of applying for the visa is that certain grounds of inadmissibility (immigration violations, criminal convictions) can be waived, provided that United States and Citizenship and Immigration Services receives evidence that merits an approval.
A U Visa is granted for four years. Derivative family members, such as the spouse, minor children, or siblings that are minor children, can be granted a derivative U Visa. In fact, derivative family members can be granted these U Visas. After three years of having a U Visa, the individual can apply for permanent resident status and become a Lawful Permanent Resident.
It is important that you are honest and forthcoming with your attorney, so that he or she can assess your case in the manner that will determine eligibility for a U visa.