The three most common visas for victims of crimes, are: U visa, VAWA, and T Visa. All three are nonimmigrant visas, meaning that a person receiving this is not yet a legal permanent resident. All three, however, have a pathway for a person to become a lawful resident.
In order to be eligible for VAWA, a person needs to prove several things:
- You must be the victim of physical abuse at the hands of your spouse, who is a citizen or esident of the US;
- You must have lived with that person during marriage;
- Proof that the spouse is a resident or US citizen; and
- Show that you have good moral character.
The benefit of a U Visa, is that your spouse does not have to be the person who harmed you. In addition, the person who harmed you, does not even need to be a citizen or resident of the United States. Whereas with VAWA, they do. The downside of a U Visa, is that it can take years to have yours processed. To qualify for a U Visa, a person needs to prove:
- They have been the victim of a qualifying criminal activity;
- They have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of the criminal activity;
- You assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
- That the crime occurred in the United States.
The Immigration Nationality Act mentions several crimes that are valid for a U Visa. The most common are domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse. It is important to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with getting your immigrant visa.
In order to qualify for a T Visa, you must show:
- You were the victim of a severe form of trafficking;
- You were physically present in the USA or at a port of entry due to trafficking;
- Comply with reasonable law enforcement requests; and
- Suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the USA.
- USCIS U Visa: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes/victims-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status/victims-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status
- VAWA: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/violence-against-women-act-vawa-immigration
- T Visa: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-and-other-crimes/victims-human-trafficking-t-nonimmigrant-status/victims-human-trafficking-t-nonimmigrant-status
- ILRC: https://www.ilrc.org/u-visa-t-visa-vawa