Illinois immigration lawyerThere are multiple situations where immigrants may be the victims of crime. Unfortunately, this often puts people in a difficult position, since they may be concerned that if they report these crimes or attempt to leave a situation where they or their family members are in danger, they could be detained by immigration officials and deported. However, the laws in the United States provide some protection for immigrants who are the victims of crimes, and depending on a person’s situation, different options for obtaining a visa or Green Card may be available.

U Visas for Crime Victims

Immigrants in the United States who have been the victims of certain types of crimes may apply for a U visa that will protect them from deportation. A person will need to show that they have been the victim of qualifying criminal activity and that these crimes have caused them to suffer significant abuse of a physical or mental nature. Qualifying crimes include murder, manslaughter, domestic violence, stalking, felony assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, prostitution, and incest, and these crimes must have taken place in the United States or violated U.S. laws. An applicant must cooperate with law enforcement officials during a criminal investigation or the prosecution of a crime.

Up to 10,000 U visas can be issued each year. Derivative U visas may also be available for an applicant’s immediate family members, including their spouse and children, or if they are under the age of 21, their parents and unmarried siblings. A U visa will allow a person to stay in the U.S. for four years. After three years of living in the U.S. with U nonimmigrant status, a person can apply for a Green Card.

T Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking

Similar to U visas, T visas may be available for victims of certain types of crimes related to “severe” forms of trafficking. Sex trafficking may include cases in which a person is transported or harbored in the United States and is forced or coerced into engaging in commercial sexual activity. Labor trafficking may include cases where a person is transported or harbored in the U.S. and forced to engage in involuntary servitude or situations that constitute slavery. To qualify for a T visa, a victim will need to cooperate with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, and they must show that removal from the United States would cause them to suffer extreme hardship.

Up to 5,000 U visas can be issued each year. Derivative T visas may also be available for a person’s family members. A T visa will usually be granted for four years. A person can apply for a Green Card after they have lived in the U.S. for three years with T nonimmigrant status.

Contact a DuPage County Crime Victim Immigration Attorney

If you are an immigrant who has been the victim of a crime, you will want to understand the steps you can take to ensure that you can remain safe from harm while continuing to live in the United States. Unzueta Law Group, P.C. can advise you on whether you may qualify for a U or T visa, and we can help you complete all of your requirements when applying for humanitarian relief that will allow you to avoid deportation and receive protection from law enforcement. Get legal help with issues related to immigration and deportation by contacting our Itasca visa and Green Card lawyer at 630-509-2363.


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