U Visas

Immigration Attorney Vianey Hurtado
By: Vianey Hurtado
Immigration Lawyer
Licensed in Arizona since: 2014

U Visas Attorney In Phoenix

A U Visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to victims or indirect victims of certain qualifying crimes who have assisted or are likely to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. It offers protection from removal and a path to lawful permanent residency (green card) after three years. It is important to note that U visa petitions are subject to the statutory cap of 10,000 visas per year. While your case is pending and awaiting a visa to become available, USCIS in their discretion, may issue bona fide determinations and deferred action–offering eligible victims protection and the opportunity to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

If you need to apply for a U Visa in Phoenix, AZ, please get in touch with immigration attorney Vianey K. Hurtado. When you work with our law firm, you can confidently go through the application process with Vianey by your side. Vianey focuses primarily on Immigration law and has a personal understanding of the immigration experience as a proud daughter of immigrants. Vianey has made it her life's work to help reunite families and advocate for her clients. Please contact us today to schedule a comprehensive case evaluation. Our law firm speaks Spanish and serves the areas of Phoenix and Yuma.

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Itzel L.

5 Stars
VIANEY HURTADO is an incredible lawyer. Since the beginning of my services her and her team made sure I felt well take care of. Her and her team was patient, efficient and compassionate with me.
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Betty G.

5 Stars
Attorney Vianey K. Hurtado is a very honest, professional and patient immigration attorney who gives you confidence in the course of your case. She helped me a lot and very quickly for my residency.
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Juan E.

5 Stars
If my family and I could give 100 stars I would. Vianey and all her staff were helpful from day one. Always treated us with great professionalism. Always honest and hard working. Will definitely be recommending her!!!
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Lizbeth S.

5 Stars
My father had a very rough immigration case, Vianey did an amazing job. Thank you so much, very grateful for everything you did. My father is now a permanent resident thanks to you.

Who is eligible for a U Visa?

Eligibility for a U Visa is specific and requires meeting several criteria. 

Victims, Indirect Victims, and Bystander Victims

Those whom the crime was perpetrated on and who suffered direct and proximate harm as a result of the commission of the qualifying criminal activity. 

Indirect Victims:
Those that are parents of a principal victim, if the child is under the age of 21 years of age when the crime was committed and cannot provide assistance to law enforcement due to incompetence or incapacity.  The immigrant status of the child is not relevant to this determination.

Bystander Victims:
Those that USCIS deems to be direct victims, if they suffered unusually severe harm as a result of having witnessed the qualifying crime. Bystander cases can be difficult to win without strong evidence of the unusual severe harm. 

Let's break it down further:

Victim or Indirect Victim of a Qualifying Crime:

Designated Categories: The crime must fall under a specific list outlined by the U.S. government. These include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking
  • Incest
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Abusive sexual contact involving a minor
  • Witness tampering
  • Certain serious felonies (including extortion, witness tampering, murder, manslaughter, and torture)

Severity of Harm:
You must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the qualifying crime. This can include physical injuries, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological trauma.

Assistance to Law Enforcement:

Cooperation and Willingness:
You must have provided or be willing to provide valuable information and assistance to law enforcement regarding the crime. This can involve:

Reporting the crime to the authorities

  • Reporting the crime to the authorities
  • Cooperating with the investigation
  • Providing witness statements
  • Testifying in court

Certification from Law Enforcement:
A crucial element is obtaining a "certification" from a law enforcement agency confirming the qualifying crime and your assistance or potential assistance. This certification verifies your eligibility and is needed to be able to file the application.

Additional Eligibility Requirements:

  • Admissibility to the United States: Aside from specific immigration violations related to the qualifying crime, you must generally meet the standard requirements for entering the United States. If you are inadmissible to the United States due to entering without inspection or having criminal history, you may still be eligible to apply for a U visa by filing for a waiver. Inadmissibility issues may be waived by concurrently filing the Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. https://www.uscis.gov/i-192

Understanding Exclusions:

It's important to note that some situations may render you ineligible for a U visa. These include:

  • Committing certain serious crimes yourself, including if related to the qualifying crime.
  • Having participated in Nazi persecution, genocide, torture, or extrajudicial killing.

Navigating the Process:

The U Visa application process can be complex and challenging. Seeking professional guidance from an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended. They can help you:

  • Determine your eligibility based on your specific circumstances.
  • Gather the necessary evidence and documentation.
  • Effectively present your case to maximize your chances of approval.
  • Address any potential complications or legal challenges.

What are the benefits of a U Visa?

U Visas offer benefits to victims and derivatives of certain qualifying crimes who assist law enforcement. Some of those benefits include:

Bona fide Determination Process and Employment Authorization Document (EAD):

Having all of the necessary documents required in the initial filing will be beneficial for USCIS’ initial review of the application. Upon their initial review, USCIS may issue a “bona fide determination,” which generally grants the eligible victim deferred action and employment authorization document (EAD) while they await final adjudication of their petition for U visa with USCIS. 

Immediate and Ongoing Protection:

Protection from Deportation:
Once deferred action is granted, an applicant will have protection from deportation, while they await the final adjudication of their petition with USCIS. This is the most immediate and crucial benefit, allowing you to stay in the United States without fear of removal. This protection continues if your petition is approved.

  • Stability and Security:
    Knowing you're safe from deportation fosters a sense of stability and security. This can be life-changing for individuals who have experienced trauma and fear of returning to dangerous situations.
  • Freedom and Opportunity:
    With this protection, you have the freedom to rebuild your life, pursue education or employment opportunities, and contribute to your community without constant fear of deportation.

Path to Permanent Residency:

  • Green Card Eligibility:
    After holding a U visa for three years, you become eligible to apply for a green card, also known as lawful permanent residency. This opens the door to long-term stability and the ability to fully integrate into American society.
  • Building a Future:
    With a green card, you can legally work, travel, own property, and access broader social and economic opportunities. This provides a foundation for building a secure and fulfilling future for yourself and your loved ones.

Empowerment and Justice:

  • Voice and Support:
    The U Visa process empowers victims to come forward and seek justice. By assisting law enforcement, you contribute to holding perpetrators accountable and protecting others from similar harm.
  • Healing and Recovery:
    The safety and stability provided by a U Visa can create a supportive environment for healing from the trauma experienced. This can pave the way for emotional and psychological recovery.
  • Community Contribution:
    As a U Visa holder, you can contribute to your community and society as a whole. You can share your story, advocate for victim rights, and inspire others who may be facing similar challenges.

Additional Benefits:

  • Employment Authorization:
    A U Visa grants you an employment authorization document (EAD), enabling you to work legally in the United States and support yourself financially. This promotes self-sufficiency and reduces dependence on public assistance.
  • Confidentiality:
    The application process respects your privacy. Information regarding your immigration status and the details of the qualifying crime are generally kept confidential.

Derivative Benefits for Family Members:
In some cases, qualifying family members may also be eligible for U Visas or other forms of immigration relief.

Why Clients Choose Vianey Hurtado

How can I apply for a U Visa?

To apply for a U Visa, you must file Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status and Form I-918 Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are inadmissible to the United States, you will also need to apply for an I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. You will also need to submit supporting documentation, such as police reports, medical records, and statements from witnesses.

We recommend that you consult with an attorney before completing any application on your own. Attorney Vianey K. Hurtado offers support for those navigating the challenges of immigration, particularly in filing the correct documentation to obtain a U Visa. Her personal connection to immigration adds depth to her professional expertise, making her an ideal choice for those seeking guidance and representation in their immigration journey. Contact us today for a detailed case evaluation. Our firm serves the areas of Phoenix and Yuma.

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Legal Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Vianey K. Hurtado Law’s legal team is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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