How Do I Qualify For a U Visa?

Victims of a violent or serious crime who have endured physical or mental damage may qualify for a nonimmigrant U visa. Whether you reside in your native country or are in the United States, you can apply for the U visa by filling out form I-918, plus all supplemental forms and required documents.

Congress created the U visa after passing the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000. This act was intended to both protect victims of violent and sexual crimes as well as refocus efforts of law enforcement to get these criminals off the street. The U visa provides recipients with relief from their suffering in exchange for their helping police track down those who commit these crimes.

Eligibility Requirements

Your U visa may be granted if you meet the following criteria:

  • You were a victim of a particularly egregious crime, such as kidnapping, enslavement, or assault.
  • The crime is a “qualifying” crime. The list of crimes that qualify under this visa can be located on the USCIS website.
  • You can provide useful information about the crime that may help solve it. Victims 16 years old or younger may have a parent, guardian, or “next friend” relay this information on their behalf.
  • You have been working with law enforcement to help catch the criminal.
  • You suffered (or are still suffering) from physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime.
  • You have not previously been denied admittance to the United States. Those who have been unable to enter the country can fill out a form I-192, called the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant, to request permission to enter.
  • The crime was committed in the U.S., or is against the law in the U.S.

You will be expected to show significant proof that you meet criteria, so it might be a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney for help preparing your documentation.

A U visa is valid for four years, but in some cases, an extension may be granted.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

Obtaining a U visa requires filling out a lot of forms and providing a statement. Victims of a violent crime may find it difficult to concentrate on anything after experiencing such a traumatizing event. The immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC understand how difficult the process can be. Let us help you fill out forms and answer your questions. We want to ensure that you get relief from your suffering while you help police get these violent criminals off the streets.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding a U Visa, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.