What are the basics of a U Visa?

Are you an immigrant who has been victimized by a crime? Did you call the police or assist other law enforcement with the investigation of the crime or prosecution of the perpetrators? If so, you may qualify for a U-Visa. If an immigrant has been the victim of criminal activity, assisted law enforcement, and meets certain other requirements, he or she may be eligible for a U-Visa, a temporary non-immigrant visa. You might be eligible for the U visa so read on!

What are the crimes that qualify for a U Visa?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, U-visas are designed for immigrants who have been subject to physical and/or mental abuse because they were victims of certain crimes. Among these crimes are:

  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Abuse
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Torture
  • Stalking
  • Perjury
  • Other related crimes

You can still be eligible for a U-Visa even if you were a victim of a crime not explicitly listed if that crime falls under related crimes. In addition to the crimes listed above, “other related crimes” can include any activity with elements comparable to those listed above.  An immigration attorney can help you determine if the crime of which you were a victim qualifies as “other related crimes”.


It takes two steps to apply for a U-Visa. In order to be of assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator and criminal case in which you have been victimized, you MUST first obtain a certification from law enforcement. Your U-Visa application may be filed once the certificate of nonimmigrant status, referred to as a U-Nonimmigrant Status Certification, has been issued. Thus, you must obtain law enforcement certification before applying for the U-Visa.