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U visa offers relief to immigrant women, victims of criminal activity

San Antonio, TX – Immigrant women in Texas who are not otherwise eligible for a Green Card can obtain legal status by applying for a U visa.  The little-known Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed back in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. VAWA allows immigrant women who were victims of various types of criminal activities to obtain immigration status independent of their abusers. 

Who is eligible for a U visa?

Abused spouses, children, and parents can self-petition for permanent residency in the U.S if they meet the following requirements:

  • The abuser is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The victim can prove a qualifying relationship with the abuser 
  • The victim entered the marriage in good faith marriage (if applicable)
  • The victim was subjected to battery or extreme cruelty
  • The victim is of a good moral character.

To apply for a U Visa, you need to speak with a seasoned San Antonio immigration lawyer. You may still be eligible for a U visa, even if you were not legally married to the abuser or if you entered US territory unlawfully. If that is the case, your lawyers will help you apply for a waiver on Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.

What are the criminal activities covered under VAWA?

First of all, immigrant women can use VAWA if they were brought to the US, legally or illegally, by a spouse who went on to abuse them and did not help them obtain legal status. If the woman fled to escape domestic violence, an experienced immigration lawyer can help document her case, proving the relationship with the abusive partner and the violence she was subjected to. 

VAWA can also be used by women who were victims of crimes such as:

  • Abduction
  • Blackmail
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Kidnapping
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade

Illegal immigrant women who can provide evidence of certain criminal activities can be granted a U visa. This refers to cases of:

  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Perjury
  • Torture
  • Trafficking

What are the benefits of a U visa?

At present, the number of U visas available each year is capped at 10,000, so you must act right away and make sure you have all the documents you need. 

Once granted a U visa, the immigrant woman will be allowed to stay in the US for up to 4 years and will also be granted work authorization. U visas can be extended under exceptional circumstances. 

U visa holders may petition for certain family members as well.

  • Women under the age of 21 may petition on behalf of their spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18
  • Women over the age of 21 may petition on behalf of their spouses and children.

 After three years, a U visa holder can apply for legal permanent residence in the US. 

If you want to know whether you qualify for a U visa, get in touch with a seasoned lawyer at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen in San Antonio and let them help you stay in the US and obtain legal status. 

Contact info:

Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen

206 East Locust Street

San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 769-3273

Source: USCIS – Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status

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