Many victims of crime suffer in silence because they do not have a legal status in the country and they fear they could get deported if they report the incident to the authorities.
Do not be afraid! If you do not have immigration papers and have been a victim of crime in the United States, you and your immediate family members may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa.
There are some requirements to be eligible:
- You are a victim of certain crimes.
- You have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime.
- You have information concerning that criminal activity.
- You have been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
U-Visa lets victims of crimes stay in the country and enjoy the following benefits:
- You can legally live in the United States and get permission to work.
- Some of your family members can also be eligible for their own derivative U-visa.
- U nonimmigrant status is valid for four years. After three years of continuous physical presence in the United States, you may be eligible to adjust status and become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
VAWA is a federal law that protects victims of violence who have been abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouses, children or parents. The majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children, however, VAWA also applies to male victims of violence.
VAWA is a way for abused spouses and certain parents and children to obtain a green card without the cooperation of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative who is abusing them. It is very important that you provide as much evidence as possible showing that you have suffered emotional, psychological or physical abuse.
You must complete and file USCIS Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant with all supporting documentation with the Vermont Service Center.
If you have an approved VAWA petition, you are eligible to apply to work in the United States and may be eligible to file for a green card.
VAWA laws provide services and programs to help victims. You can also find help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224. They have information about mental health care, shelters, and other types of assistance.
Eligibility Requirements for:
– You must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
– If the marriage was terminated you may file the petition within two years.
– You must have entered into the marriage in good faith.
– You lived with the abuser
– You currently live in the United States
– You are a person of good moral character
– Unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included on your petition as derivative beneficiaries.
-You may file for yourself if you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
– You have resided with the abusive son or daughter.
– You are a person of good moral character.
– You may file for yourself if you have been an abused child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent.
– You are unmarried under 21
– You may delay in filing and file after age 21 but before age 25. However, you need to demonstrate that the abuse was the main reason for the delay in filing.
– You have resided with the abusive parent.
– You are a person of good moral character (if more than 14 years of age)
The United States offer protection and safety to people who have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
The asylum application must be made within one year of your arrival to the United States unless you can show exceptional circumstances relating to the delay in filing.
To apply for asylum, you must be physically present in the United States or seeking entry into the United States at a port of entry.
You must complete and file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal with supporting documentation.
If you are granted asylum you may:
- be permitted to remain in the United States;
- include your spouse and unmarried children under 21;
- obtain an employment authorization;
- petition to bring your spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the United States;
- apply for a green card one year after granted asylum