U visas serve an essential purpose for many immigrants who are victims of criminal offenses. Applying for this type of visa presents some unique challenges. If you are eligible for this type of immigration status and need help with the application process, you should seek legal counsel from Hacking Law Practice, LLC. A San Diego U visa lawyer could address any questions you may have and navigate the United States immigration system.

Who Qualifies for a U Visa?

Individuals who experienced physical abuse, severe mental abuse, or who are victims of certain criminal acts may qualify for a U visa. When applying for this visa, the applicant must establish that they have knowledge or information regarding a criminal act and be willing to assist law enforcement in their investigation and prosecution. The applicant must also be admissible to the United States or at least eligible for a waiver. Victims or witnesses of crimes should consult with our lawyers in San Diego about the U visa process.

Benefits of a U Visa

Individuals who obtain a U visa can lawfully remain in the United States. Illegal immigration status can last for up to four years. During that time, those applicants have the authorization to work in the United States.

U visas also offer derivative benefits to family members of the applicant. Certain qualifying family members may also have the opportunity to obtain a visa. Individuals with a U visa may apply for lawful permanent residency after three years of living legally in the United States.

Anyone who has questions regarding what they can and cannot do on a U visa should speak to their San Diego attorney. If the applicant wishes to remain lawfully in the United States, they should abide by all of the terms related to their U visa and avoid any legal violations that could place their status at risk.

Processing Time

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may require about four and a half years to process a U visa application fully. During that time, the agency will take photographs and fingerprints to acquire the applicant’s biometric data, process supporting information and all applicant forms, and eventually issue an approval for a work permit.

While wait times can vary, one thing that may delay approval for this visa is the limit on U visa applications per year. The United States will only issue 10,000 U visas annually, and frequently the visas run out before the government processes all applications. In such cases, the USCIS might grant deferred action and make the immigrant eligible for work authorization upon request. Hiring an experienced lawyer in San Diego could provide individuals some peace of mind throughout the lengthy waiting period of the U visa application process.

Hire a San Diego U Visa Attorney Today

Although the U visa process is complex and lengthy, it offers many immigrants an opportunity to become lawful residents after facing a traumatic event. If you think that you might qualify for this type of visa, you should speak to a San Diego U visa lawyer about applying. Remember that the process can take years to complete, so getting started as soon as possible is in your best interests.