T and U Visas
The U and T visas were both created to give victims of crime or human trafficking the opportunity to obtain legal status in the United States if they have cooperated with law enforcement to help investigate or prosecute crime. These visas can be a powerful tool to help foreign nationals who may not have any other route to legal status to gain security for themselves and their families. The Cassell Firm’s immigration attorney has helped many victims of crime and human trafficking get U and T visa applications approved so that they can move forward to a happier and brighter future.U Visas
Many people have heard about the U Visa, but do not know exactly what it is or how it could help them. The U Visa was set aside for victims of certain crimes who assist law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution of the crime. In order to be eligible for a U Visa you must:
- Be the victim of a qualifying crime that occurred in the United States or a U.S. territory;
- Have suffered significant physical or mental harm as a result of the crime;
- Have cooperated with law enforcement to help in the prosecution or investigation of the crime; and
- A relevant law enforcement agency certifies that you have cooperated in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
You and your family could benefit significantly from a U Visa approval. Some of your family members may qualify as “derivatives” and could be included in your application. If your U Visa application is approved, you will be granted legal status in the United States for up to four years and you will be eligible for work authorization. The single most important benefit of a Visa is that after you have had your U Visa for three years you may apply for a green card.
Waiting to file your U Visa application can have serious consequences. Some law enforcement agencies will not certify your application after a period of time. In addition, only 10,000 U Visa applications can be granted each year. This means that there will be a waiting time for your visa even if it is approved so getting your application properly filed as soon as possible is important.
Proper U Visa applications are difficult and detailed. You will need an attorney experienced in U Visa cases to handle your case and make sure that you have the best application possible. If you or a family member has been a victim of a crime contact our office to see if you may be eligible for a U Visa.T Visas
The T Visa is for people who have been the victim of severe human trafficking. T Visa holders are eligible for work authorization and certain other benefits including: housing assistance; food assistance; health care and mental health treatment; English lessons; and assistance finding work. To be eligible for a T Visa you must:
- Be the victim of a severe form of human trafficking;
- Be present in the United States because you are the victim of human trafficking;
- Comply with a request from law enforcement for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you meet certain exceptions);
- Would suffer extreme hardship if you were not allowed to remain in the United States
T Visas are typically granted for four years. After three years as a T Visa holder, you may apply for a green card. In addition, you may be able to apply for certain family members and enable them to obtain lawful status. If you or a family member have been the victim of trafficking or you are unsure if you may qualify for a T Visa, contact our office for a consultation.
The Cassell Firm’s immigration attorney has assisted many U and T applicants with successful submissions. She has written guidelines for other attorneys providing pro bono and volunteer services to U and T applicants. If you or a loved one could be eligible for a U or T visa, call our office at (615) 475-7041.