A U Visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa for victims of certain crimes who have assisted, are currently assisting, or are likely to be of assistance to a law enforcement agency in the detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal activity. Under current law, only 10,000 U Visas may be granted each fiscal year.

A U Visa may be granted for a period of up to four (4) years. An approved U Visa petition automatically grants the applicant an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which can then be used to obtain a valid Social Security Number (SSN). In certain states, including Colorado, a valid EAD and SSN can be utilized to obtain a state issued driver’s license or identification card.

After three years on an approved U-Visa, the non-immigrant may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States.

Certain family members of U Visa applicants may also be included in the U Visa petition. If the U Visa applicant is over 21 years of age, his or her spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included in the application. If the U Visa applicant is under 21 years of age, his or her spouse, parents, unmarried children under age 21, and unmarried siblings under age 18 may be included in the application.

In order to qualify for a U Visa, the applicant must establish:

  • He or she is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • He or she is a victim of criminal activity that falls within the following categories: rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, hostage situations, peonage, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes;
  • The criminal activity violated a local, state or federal law or occurred in the United States;
  • He or she possess information about the criminal activity;
  • He or she was helpful, is currently being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to a law enforcement agency in detecting, investigating or prosecuting the qualifying criminal activity;
  • He or she suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to the criminal activity;
  • He or she is otherwise admissible to the United States, if he or she is not admissible to the United States, a waiver of inadmissibility may also be required.

*** Importantly, all U Visa petitions must be certified by an authorized law enforcement official prior to submission to U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Kolko & Associates is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, German, and Slovak, and we can arrange for translators in any other language.