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Female closeupThe U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes while, at the same time, offer protection to victims of such crimes. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.

How Does One Become Eligible for U Nonimmigrant Status?

There are four statutory eligibility requirements:

  • The individual must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
  • The individual must have information concerning that criminal activity.
  • The individual must have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • The criminal activity violated U.S. laws

Qualifying criminal activity is defined as being an activity involving one or more activities that violate U.S. criminal law, primarily felonies.