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Being a victim of crime is difficult enough without having to worry about your immigration status. Thankfully, there are legal protections for immigrant victims of crime. This section provides information about how the law makes it easier for victims of crime to apply for permission to live and work in the United States.

Need Help? Take our quiz to clarify your first steps.


A U-Visa allows non-citizens who are victims of certain crimes (see list below) to live and work in the United States temporarily.


You can find more information about the U Visa here:


If approved, a U-Visa allows you to:

Live in the United States for up to 4 years, with the possibility of an extension.
Apply to work in the United States.

Can those who are approved for a U-Visa apply for a green card?

Yes. After 3 years on a U-Visa, you can apply to become a lawful permanent resident and get a green card, if approved. If your application is not approved, you may be placed into removal, or deportation, proceedings.

Can my family apply for a U-Visa?

Yes. Members of your immediate family may qualify for a U-Visa.
If you are age 21 or older, you can apply for a U-Visa for your spouse and your unmarried children who are under age 21.
If you are under age 21, you can apply for a U-Visa for your spouse, your unmarried children who are under age 21, your parents, and your unmarried brothers or sisters under age 18.

You may apply for a U-Visa for your family when you apply for your own U-Visa.

What are the qualifications for a U-Visa?

You do NOT need to have lawful immigration status to apply for a U-Visa. You can be undocumented.

However, you must show that:

You are the victim of a crime that the U-Visa covers. You can find a list of the crimes that the U-Visa covers below
The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. law
You suffered serious physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of the crime
You have useful information you can share about the crime
A law enforcement agency has “certified” that you have helped them investigate or prosecute the crime.

What is certification by law enforcement?

Before you can apply for a U-Visa, you must have a law enforcement agency “certify” (confirm in writing) that you have helped them investigate or prosecute the crime. You must ask the law enforcement agency to fill out Form I-918, Supplement B

A U Visa application without law enforcement certification will be denied, so it is important to communicate with law enforcement. A lawyer or immigration advocate may be helpful in understanding how to obtain certification
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What crimes does a U-Visa cover?

Victims of the following crimes may be able to get a U-Visa:


Abusive Sexual Contact


Domestic Violence


False Imprisonment

Female Genital Mutilation

Lying Under Oath

Felonious Assault

Hostage Taken



Involuntary Servitude




Obstruction of Justice

Witness Tampering


Sexual Assault

Slave Trade



Sexual Exploitation

Unlawful Criminal Restraint

Other Related Crimes


How do I apply for a U-Visa?

To apply for a U-Visa, you must file the following documents:
Form I-918
“Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status”;

Form I-918, Supplement A,
“Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient”
(if you are also applying for a family member)
Form I-918, Supplement B
“U Nonimmigrant Status Certification”
(the form you must ask the law enforcement agency to fill out)
A personal statement describing the crime
Other forms as instructed depending on your specific situation.
Learn more about these forms and find instructions here:

Immigration Resources and Help