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What type of crime committed against a victim could qualify them for a U-Visa?

Recently updated on April 9th, 2024 at 12:27 am

If you are considering applying for a U nonimmigrant Visa known as a U-Visa, one of the requirements is that you are a victim of a crime that occurred in the United States. The immigration law for a U-Visa outlines particular types of crimes that may qualify you for a U-Visa. You will need to provide evidence that shows that you have suffered harm because of the crime and that you helped or will help law enforcement investigate the crime. 

Crimes can be created by federal law, which applies across the entire country or each of the 50 states can create their crimes. Therefore, the crimes listed below might be called something different under particular state law. For example, one of the crimes listed below is called Unlawful Criminal Restraint, however, in Washington state, this crime is called Unlawful Imprisonment. Even though the crime is called something different as long as the crime has the same description, as one on the list below, you can still apply for a U-Visa. One or more of the following or any similar activity in violation of Federal, State, or local criminal law are crimes that can qualify you for a U-Visa.

Violent Crimes:

  • Murder is the crime of unlawfully killing a person, especially with premeditated malice.
  • Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without express or implied malice.
  • Felonious Assault is the crime of causing serious bodily injury with a dangerous weapon. Examples include shooting, stabbing, mugging, or home invasion when a person is at home.
  • Domestic Violence is when one family member or household member is violent or abusive against another family or household member. For example, when a family member or partner beats or harasses another person. 
  • Torture is to cause intense pain to someone else to punish them, pressure them, or obtain pleasure from their suffering.
  • Blackmail is a criminal offense of demanding money from a person in return for not revealing information that will hurt or compromise that person. 
  • Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. 

Enslavement Crimes:

  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint is when someone knowingly and intentionally deprives another person of liberty without that person’s consent and legal reason. 
  • Kidnapping is to take and detain or carry someone away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for payment. 
  • Abduction is the action or an instance of forcibly taking someone away against their will. For example, the abduction of the child sparked a house-to-house search in the neighborhood. 
  • Being Held Hostage is when someone is taken by force to secure the taker’s demands. For example, a criminal demanded a plane and a pilot in exchange for the hostages. 
  • Slave Trade is obtaining, transporting, and selling human beings as slaves. For example, when African blacks were sold for a profit before the American Civil War. 
  • Trafficking is the deal or trade in something illegal. 
  • Involuntary Servitude is being forced to do work that you do not want to do, for another person. 
  • False Imprisonment is when a person intentionally restricts another person’s freedom to move or to leave without consent. For example, when a person locks someone in a room and does not allow them to leave. 
  • Peonage is being forced to do work you do not want to do, to pay off a debt. 

Sexual Crimes:

  • Rape is defined as sexual intercourse, or other forms of sexual penetration, committed by a person against someone else without their consent. 
  • Incest is the crime of having sexual relations with persons so closely related like a parent, child, sibling, or grandchild. 
  • Abusive Sexual Contact is when someone knowingly engages in sexual contact (intentionally touching the genitalia or other areas) with another person without that other person's permission. 
  • Prostitution is the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment. 
  • Sexual Exploitation is taking advantage of the sexuality and attractiveness of a person to make a personal gain or profit. For example, when someone records images or audio of sexual activity, intimate body parts, or the nakedness of another without their consent. 
  • Female Genital Mutilation is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injuries to the female organs for non-medical reasons. 
  • Stalking is the crime of following another person against his or her wishes and harassing that person. 

Obstruction of Justice Crimes are crimes that corruptly or by force try to avoid the administration of justice:

  • Perjury is knowingly giving a false statement after having taken an oath or affirmation. 
  • Witness Tampering is when someone attempts to cause a person to testify falsely, withhold information, or not show up to any legal action to which he/she is a witness. 

Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting is when someone with the intent to defraud recruits, solicits, or hires a person with a false representation of that employment.  For example, when an employer tells someone that they will be studying when in fact they will be working.

The crime does not have to have been “completed” for it to qualify. An attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit one of the above-mentioned crimes is enough. For example, a murder victim wouldn’t be applying for a U visa. But if you are the victim of attempted murder, you may qualify for a U-Visa.

What evidence will I need if I was the victim of a crime that could potentially qualify me for a U-Visa?

You will need a USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B certification that a law enforcement agency can complete. The Supplement B certification is a required piece of evidence that confirms, you are applying for a U-Visa, you are a victim of criminal activity that could potentially qualify you for a U-Visa and you are, or you will help with the investigation or legal action of that criminal activity. Below, are additional relevant evidence that you may provide to help with your case. 

Evidence that you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse:

The documents below must demonstrate the severity of the injury, perpetrator’s conduct, harm you suffered, the duration of the harm, and the extent to which there is permanent or serious harm to your appearance, physical, or mental health.  

  • Reports and/or written sworn statements from judges and other court officials, medical personnel, school officials, church, social worker, and other social service personnel;
  • Orders of protection and related legal documents;
  • Photos of your visible injuries supported by written sworn statements; and
  • Written sworn statements from witnesses, friends, or family members who have personal knowledge of the facts regarding the criminal activity. 
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