U Visas Attorney Chicago

U Visas Attorney Chicago

The U visa is one of several visa categories where, after a certain period of time, the visa holder becomes eligible to apply for a green card. Getting a U visa is not a guarantee that you will get permanent residency, but it does mean that you will have the opportunity to adjust your status to permanent residency simply by remaining in the United States, abiding by U.S. laws, and complying with requirements of your visa category. Applicants for U visas are, by definition, in a vulnerable position. If you need a visa, you do not want to run the risk of making a mistake on your application or trusting the advice of people who do not truly have your best interests in mind. Instead, the best way to maximize your success of getting a U visa and later successfully applying for a green card is to contact the Chicago victim of crime applications lawyers at Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates.

What Is the U Visa Category?

The U visa category is a nonimmigrant visa category for victims of crimes that occurred in the United States. You can get a U visa by promising to cooperate with an investigation into a crime of which you were a victim or which you witnessed. Close family members of crime victims are also eligible to get U visas connected to the visa status of the primary petitioner, who is the person directly affected by the crime. A U visa is valid for four years, but it is possible to extend it if you have not already applied for a green card by the end of the four years.

These are some of the crimes for which the victims are eligible for U visa status:

  • Domestic violence
  • Human trafficking offenses, such as involuntary servitude or fraud in foreign labor contracting
  • Financial crimes such as extortion or blackmail
  • Sex offenses with or without physical coercion
  • Violent crimes such as assault

U Visa Eligibility Criteria

To apply for U nonimmigrant status, you must file form I-918, along with a personal statement describing the crime of which you were a victim. A law enforcement officer employed in the jurisdiction where the crime happened must also fill out a form explaining why your testimony is important to the ongoing investigation or criminal case. You must also certify that you are admissible to the United States, which means that there is nothing in your past that would cause USCIS to reject your visa application. If you are not admissible, you must file an inadmissibility waiver along with your application.

Pathways to Permanent Residency for U Visa Holders

Three years after getting your U visa, you may apply for a green card. If your U visa expires while your green card application is pending, it automatically extends until you receive a decision about your green card case.

Contact a Chicago U Visas Lawyer

Contact The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates in Chicago, Illinois, to apply for a U visa or adjust your status to permanent residency.