Who qualifies for a u visa?
The U Visa is for individuals who are victims of a crime. Normally the crimes are based on violent crimes in which the victim has suffered physical or mental abuse. You can apply for this U Visa if you are the direct victim of the abuse or if you have a direct relationship with the victim, for example, children under 21. If you are part of a couple and your partner was a victim of abuse you may qualify as well. If you apply for a U Visa, the wait can be between three to four years to receive the visa. The processing time depends on the county where you requested the visa. Unfortunately for Georgia residents, this process is known to be quite lengthy in all counties including Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton, and Dekalb among others.
What are some of the challenges?
While the U Visa can be an excellent option to apply for residency, it is very important to take into account the complexity of the process of applying for and receiving the U Visa. The process can be emotionally taxing because of the wait and the fact that victims have to confront their abusers as part of the application process. For example, victims are required to explain the abuse in full detail and press formal charges. This can include facing their abuser in court.
It does not guarantee citizenship
It is also important to consider that a U Visa is not necessarily a guaranteed path to citizenship. U-Visas normally expire after four years. During the third year, the victim has the opportunity to apply for residency. We recommend hiring a lawyer to ensure your safety and to progress in processing the U Visa. If you or a loved one have questions, call our office and we would be glad to help. We have extensive experience in these types of immigration processes.