U non-immigrant status, also known as the “U visa”, is an immigration benefit that can be used to provide relief to victims of certain crimes who are currently or have assisted law enforcement, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. The U visa provides eligible victims with a status in order to remain temporarily in the United States while they are assisting law enforcement.
U visa provides nonimmigrant status for no longer than 4 years. However, qualified U visa holders may apply to adjust status to lawful permanent resident after three years of continuous presence in the United States.
Congress recognized that victims that do not have immigration status may be reluctant to help in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity for fear of removal from the United States. Administering U visas strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of persons, and other crimes.
What constitutes a qualifying crime?
(for complete list see USCIS website)
***NEW 02/14/2017 MEMO*** from Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court regarding role of Family Court in U-Visa cases
U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Resource
Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status