Getting a U-Visa in North Carolina
Victims of any type of crime deserve justice and adequate representation to make sure that the offender is held responsible for their actions. Not every crime is reported, though, and therefore not every criminal is charged with a crime. There are any number of reasons that a victim might not choose to come forward and report a crime. However, for undocumented immigrants, the chance that they will report a crime against them is very small. Most are afraid that reporting the crime committed, which is often domestic violence, will put their own chance of remaining in the United States at risk. Coming forward as an undocumented immigrant poses the threat of law enforcement detaining them and seeking further action.
Domestic violence against undocumented immigrants is a grossly unreported crime. Abusers feel like they hold the power because of the risks associated with going to the police to report the abuse. While it is true that these fears of reporting the crime exists, it is not always founded in accurate information. There are options for undocumented immigrants who are the victim of a crime, like domestic violence. Those reporting abuse cannot be deported simply for reporting a crime when they obtain a U-Visa.
What is a U-Visa?
A U-Visa provides a legal way for victims to stay in the United States after reporting their crime. In order to qualify for the visa, however, the victim must be cooperative or helpful in the prosecution/investigation of the criminal activity of the crime committed against them. Congress created this U-Visa for two reasons:
- To motivate undocumented immigrants to report the crimes committed against them by serving as a tool that law enforcement can use to help the victims remain in the U.S.; and
- Act as a humanitarian tool for victims of domestic violence or other qualifying crimes.
The U-Visa is not a permanent solution, and it does not automatically provide permanent residency. It provides legal status for four years. There are certain circumstances in which a person can extend the visa. The U-Visa provides an avenue to apply for permanent residence. After being a holder of the U-Visa for three years, the victim may apply for permanent residence. During the time a person is on the U-Visa, they are permitted to work.
In order to receive a U-Visa, the victim will need to prove:
- They were the victim of a crime;
- They have suffered substantial abuse, either physical or mental, because of the crime reported; and
- They have been helpful in the prosecution or investigation of the criminal prosecution. A victim can receive certification of the helpfulness element from a judge, prosecutor, or another government agency designee.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have questions about obtaining a U-Visa, you need a knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you. The immigration attorneys at Dysart Willis has the capability, knowledge, and experience to help you complete the steps to obtaining a U-Visa. Our number one priority is helping you achieve your objectives. Contact us today for a consultation.