Visas for Victims of Crime: U Visa, T Visa, & VAWA

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:

  1. You must be the victim of physical abuse at the hands of your spouse, who is a citizen or esident of the US;
  2. You must have lived with that person during marriage;
  3. Proof that the spouse is a resident or US citizen; and
  4. Show that you have good moral character.

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U Visa

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:

  1. They have been the victim of a qualifying criminal activity;
  2. They have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because of the criminal activity;
  3. You assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  4. 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.

T Visa:

In order to qualify for a T Visa, you must show:

  1. You were the victim of a severe form of trafficking;
  2. You were physically present in the USA or at a port of entry due to trafficking;
  3. Comply with reasonable law enforcement requests; and
  4. Suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the USA.

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