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Need a Top-tier U Visa Lawyer? Miami Has One of the Best in the Country

In 2000, the US government created the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. This allows victims of crime in the US to apply for a U Visa with the aid of law enforcement authorities. There is already a wide range of visas that immigrants can use to gain US citizenship, but this one is meant to specifically benefit victims of violent crimes.
The U visa, also called a nonimmigrant visa, allows visa applicants and qualifying family members a different pathway to eventually getting their green cards and becoming lawful US residents. However, not all victims of human trafficking or violent crimes will automatically be granted U visas. Certain eligibility requirements and a U nonimmigrant status in the United States are essential.
Immigration law is complicated enough even before involving law enforcement agencies. This means, for most U Visa applicants, having a team of U visa lawyers on their side is necessary.
There are many immigration lawyers in Miami, but not all of them have the required track record of assisting victims of certain crimes to apply for U visas as Hans Burgos. He is an Ex-Trial Attorney with with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and successfully representing the United States Government as a Federal Prosecutor for 11 years in proceedings before the U.S. Immigration Courts, U.S. District Courts, and the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. Hans Burgos Attorney At Law is ready to guide you through the complex US immigration law as you apply for a U visa in 2023.

Options for Victims of Crime in the US

The alarming numbers of victims of physical or mental abuse among the immigrant community, prompted the US government to come up with U visas as a way to protect those who are vulnerable to exploitation. However, the U visa for victims of crime is not the only route to getting a temporary immigration status in the US.
With the assistance of experienced immigration lawyers, victims can also apply for a T visa or use VAWA. In 1994, congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which aims to protect all women against acts of violence, including immigrant women.
A few years later, the T visa was introduced to specifically cater to victims of sex trafficking or assault. With the help of a U visa attorney, victims can decide which type of visa is suitable for their needs, and begin the application process. However, this article will focus primarily on U visa immigration services.

Are You Eligible for a U Visa?

Unfortunately, being a victim of a crime or human trafficking is not the only requirement for U visa eligibility. Firstly, law enforcement agencies have to determine whether you were a victim of a qualifying crime, such as:

  • Obstruction of justice crimes, for example, perjury, withholding evidence, and witness tampering
  • Sexual assault, rape, incest, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and many other sexual crimes
  • Enslavement crimes, including debt servitude, enforced labor, false imprisonment, kidnapping, abduction, and slavery
  • A wide range of violent crimes, such as domestic violence, homicide, felony assault, and robbery
  • Fraud linked to foreign labor contracting (as of 2014)

Once a law enforcement certification for the qualifying crime has been obtained, visa lawyers can help a U visa applicant to prove that they:

  • Are admissible in the US
  • Have been living in the US for at least three years since obtaining a U nonimmigrant visa
  • Suffered substantial physical abuse due to the crime
  • Were victimized on US soil or in a way that violated US laws
  • Are ready to assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crime
  • Can provide information about the criminal activity

Physical or Mental Abuse and Other Qualifying Criminal Activities

The list of qualifying criminal activities when you apply for a U visa is a long one. Without the help of a U visa lawyer, Miami immigrants can easily get confused and risk not being granted their U visa.
Besides physical or mental abuse, and the crimes already mentioned above, the following are applicable:

  • Unlawful criminal restraint
  • Blackmail
  • Torture
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Extortion
  • Peonage
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Hostage situations

U Visas Apply to Family Members Too

The good news for applicants of U visas is that qualifying family members can also be included in the application. These family members include:

  • Spouses of victims who can prove that they were married before the criminal activity occurred
  • The victim’s children
  • Parents or siblings of victims who were minors when the crime was committed
  • Indirect or bystander victims of the crime, such as the family members of murdered victims

Limits to the Number of U Visas

Unfortunately, there is a limit set on the number of U visas that can be issued each year by the US government. Only 10,000 applicants can receive U visas, which is far less than the number of victims who apply for a U visa each year.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorities create a waiting list for those who are not able to apply for a U visa, which allows them to petition again in the future. Due to the huge difference between the number of applicants and available U visas, the waiting list currently stretches over five years.
In an attempt to streamline the application process, the US government introduced a vetting process on June 14, 2021. This process, called “Bona Fide Determination,” aims to quickly identify eligible applicants who have all the main requirements for a U visa application. Meeting the eligibility requirements for Bona Fide Determination means you will be given work authorization while you wait for the U visa application process to conclude.
Faced with such difficulties in obtaining a U visa, applicants who wish to expedite the process will need to work with an experienced U visa lawyer. Miami has many such attorneys to choose from, including the highly-rated Hans Burgos Law Firm.

Benefits of a U Visa Application

The biggest benefit of getting a U visa is that it is an alternative pathway to obtaining a green card. Holding a U visa for three years will allow you the chance to convert your visa into US citizenship. However, a good lawyer is usually required to assist with issues of deportation or inadmissibility.
Other benefits of applying for a U visa are:

  • You can obtain temporary immigration status for a qualifying family member.
  • It is a way of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
  • You can be awarded work authorization in the US for four years.

U Visa Application Process

Usually, the U visa application process consists of several steps that the applicant will need to complete, such as:

Approach a Law Enforcement Agency

The first step is to approach a law enforcement agency and determine whether you have been a victim of a crime that is deemed a qualifying criminal activity.
You will need to complete a Supplement-B from law enforcement authorities. A good U visa attorney can assist you with a law enforcement certification.

Complete the U Visa Application Form

The next step is to complete a U visa application form, also called Form I-918. Another important form that you will need to complete is the Waiver Application or Form I-192.

Personal Statement, Documentation, and Mailing

Once all forms have been completed, you will need to write a personal statement regarding the criminal activity and the subsequent U visa application. This will play a huge role in determining whether your visa application is approved or not.
You must also gather any additional documents that you think may help your case. Remember, there are far more applicants than there are U visas available, so any documents that may help your case must be included and mailed to the USCIS together with the application forms.

If Found Inadmissible, an Experienced Immigration Attorney Can Help

The journey to receiving a US green card can be a very lengthy and difficult one for both documented and undocumented immigrants. Even though a lot of consideration is given to applicants who have suffered mental or physical abuse, their applications are by no means guaranteed to be successful.

It is quite common for applicants who think they have a very strong case to be denied a U visa. Mistakes in filing the required evidence are one of the common causes of strong applications being denied.

However, inadmissibility is not the end of the world. An experienced U visa attorney can help to review your case, file the necessary paperwork, and help you through the complicated application process. Our Law Firm has helped many U visa applicants in Miami. Call us today at +1 (305) 442-1240 and schedule a free consultation.