Victims of Criminal Activity: U Non-immigrant Status
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.
U Non-immigrant Eligibility
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
Qualifying Criminal Activities
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.
†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.
Applying for U Non-immigrant Status (U Visa)
To apply (petition) for a U nonimmigrant status, submit:
- Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status
- Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. The Form I-918, Supplement B, must be signed by and authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency (PDF)and the official must confirm that you were helpful, and currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the case.
- If any inadmissibility issues are present, you must file a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, to request a waiver of the inadmissibility;
- A personal statement describing the criminal activity of which you were a victim; and
- Evidence to establish each eligibility requirement - visit our Forms section, specifically the Humanitarian Benefits Based Forms.
U Visa Cap
- The limit on the number of U visas that may be granted to principal petitioners each year is 10,000. However, there is no cap for family members deriving status from the principal applicant, such as spouses, children, or other eligible family members.
- If the cap is reached before all U nonimmigrant petitions have been adjudicated, USCIS will create a waiting list for any eligible principal or derivative petitioners that are awaiting a final decision and a U visa. Petitioners placed on the waiting list will be granted deferred action or parole and are eligible to apply for work authorization while waiting for additional U visas to become available.
- Once additional visas become available, those petitioners on the waiting list will receive their visa in the order in which their petition was received. Petitioners on the waiting list do not have to take any additional steps to request the U visa. USCIS will notify the petitioner of the approval and the accompanying U visa.
Resources for Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes
USCIS offers resources for victims of human trafficking and other crimes and the organizations that serve them. This information is designed to help answer any questions you or your family might have about obtaining T or U Nonimmigrant status. Please see Resources for Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes for more information.
For further information and referrals for assistance in Santa Cruz County you can contact:
Santa Cruz County Immigration Project:
Catholic Charities of the Central Coast
For information on how to request a U Visa I 918 Supplement B form (Law Enforcement Certification form) contact SCPD’s Victim Advocate at 8314205827 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org