I was abused abroad. Can I apply for U Visa?

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Probably not. When the U.S. law makers made U Visa law, they thought two purposes. One, U Visa is designed to protect and assist non-citizens who are victims of certain types of crimes and in need of aid from emergency circumstances. Two, U Visa is to encourage non-U.S. citizens to report crimes to the police and to cooperate with the U.S. justice system. In other words, the U.S. law makers wanted to help now-citizens who can strengthen law enforcement’s ability to find, search, take legal action, and punish serious crimes in the U.S. Thus, U Visa law expects at least a part of the crime has to have happened in the U.S.. 

            For example, a victim of rape was denied for her U Visa application because her rape had not occurred in the U.S. The applicant was from Guatemala. She was raped in Guatemala by a man she thought was going to help her to enter the U.S. She escaped after the rape and entered the U.S. on her won. Even though she had been helpful to the police and government agencies in the investigation and/or prosecution of her rape, her application was denied. The reason is that because the crime had not occurred in the U.S. or its territories or possession, the U.S. does not have power to investigate or take the criminal to its courts. Thus, at least one incident of abuse has to happen in the U.S. to apply for a U Vasa.


  1. 8 CFR 214.14: Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. (April 9, 2012). From https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt8.1.214&rgn=div5
  • Immigrants’ Right Clinic, Getting a U-Visa: Immigration help for victims of crime, Stanford Law School (March 2012). From ttps://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/proseuvisamanual_english.pdf
  • Shukhrat v. Sec’y United States Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 634 Fed. Appx. 880 (3d Cir. 2015). From https://plus.lexis.com/search/?pdmfid=1530671&crid=0921b172-4bda-43f6-bf0f-578e5aa7bba2&pdsearchterms=Shukhrat+v.+Sec%E2%80%99y+United+States+Dep%E2%80%99t+of+Homeland+Sec&pdtypeofsearch=searchboxclick&pdsearchtype=SearchBox&pdstartin=&pdpsf=&pdqttype=and&pdquerytemplateid=&ecomp=34htk&earg=pdsf&prid=d643f3b4-178e-487f-a410-e5d4cd737f1c
  1. USCIS.gov/humanitarian: From https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian
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