Being the victim of a criminal offense can be a truly scary experience, and the United States offers various protections for immigrants who are victims of serious crimes. In some instances, a visa can be used to allow the victim of a criminal offense to remain within the borders of the United States – and in some cases to immigrate to the United States – in order to assist law enforcement with investigating the criminal offense. Not all of these protection options require the immigrant to make a formal complaint through law enforcement.
Specifically, United States immigration laws provide for the U-visa (applicable to individuals who are victims of serious crimes and whose cooperation is certified by a law enforcement agency) and the Violence Against Women Act (also known as the VAWA) visa.
If you are the victim of a serious crime, it may be difficult for you to determine which of these visas is right for you. In some instances, the same individual might even qualify for both of these visas, depending upon the circumstances at hand. The California immigration attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, can review your circumstances and determine if you are eligible for one of these immigrant visas. Please feel free to contact us today for more information about how we can help you address your immigration matter.
U-Visas were created primarily for the benefit of immigrants who were the victims of serious criminal offenses – and who suffered mental injury, physical injuries, or both, as a result of the criminal activity in question. This visa system was put in place to allow these immigrants to have an opportunity to assist law enforcement officers with their investigation efforts.
In order for you to be eligible to obtain a U-visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you were the victim of a serious crime that qualifies for U-visa protection. In order to apply for this visa, it is not necessary that you have a qualifying relative. Likewise, in order for you to successfully obtain a U-visa, you must have information that will be helpful to law enforcement in their investigation, and you must submit a “Certificate of Helpfulness” along with your visa application.
Finally, in order to be eligible for this visa, you must show that you were physically or mentally injured as a result of criminal activity, and you must be willing to assist criminal investigators and authorities throughout the course of their criminal investigation.
VAWA visas are a way for abused and battered immigrant spouses to be eligible for a green card, without the need for cooperation by the U.S. permanent resident relative or citizen who is the source of the abuse. You may be eligible for the visa if your adult child (who is a U.S citizen) abused you, your stepparent or parent (who is a U.S. citizen) abused you, or your spouse (a permanent legal resident or U.S. citizen) abused you or your minor child who is under 21 years of age.
U.S. Immigration provides protection to you during the process of this VAWA application. Your abuser will not be permitted to obtain information about you or your VAWA application from the U.S. government. Our law office is experienced in handling these sensitive matters to help keep you safe as you obtain more secure status away from your abuser. The VAWA application does have some time limits, so if this protection may help you, please reach out to an experienced attorney or BIA accredited representative as soon and safely as possible.
The legal team at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, can determine your eligibility for a U-Visa or VAWA visa. To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a California immigration attorney, please contact us to discover more about how we can help with a victim of crime application.
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