If you have been the victim of a crime and you entered the United States, legally OR illegally, do not be afraid to report the crime or to assist the police with their investigation. In doing so you may become eligibleto apply for a U Visa. The U visa is available to immigrants who are victims of certain crimes, including but not limited to; domestic violence, trafficking, sexual assault, and incest.If you have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the person responsible the crime, you may qualify for legal status to temporarily reside and work in the United States. Spouses and minor children are often able to seek this relief through your application. If you maintain status and certain qualifications, you may also be eligible to eventually adjust status to a Legal Permanent Resident. You may also qualify for a U Visa if you were the victim of a crime in the United States but now reside in another country.
If you are married to, or recently divorced from, a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and are also the victim of domestic violence, you may qualify to petition for lawful status. VAWA was created to protect you from a spouse who attempts to control you by threatening to call immigration if you tell authorities about the abuse. This benefit is available for individuals who entered the United States legally OR illegally. VAWA allows you to “self-petition” for Lawful Permanent Residence instead of depending upon your abusive spouse to apply on your behalf.You can also apply on behalf of your children. Your abusive spouse cannot be a part of the process and does not have to know you are applying. The approval of the petition depends on your ability to document the abuse that occurred. Once your petition is approved you are eligible to adjust status to a Legal Permanent Resident.