FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I AM AN UNDOCUMENTED RESIDENT OF CALIFORNIA AND HAVE BEEN A
VICTIM OF A SERIOUS CRIME. I AM AFRAID TO REPORT THE CRIME BECAUSE I MIGHT BE
As the victim of a serious crime you may be eligible to apply for a U-Visa. The
U-Visa gives victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work
eligibility in the United States for up to 4 years.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A U-VISA?
The U-Visa gives law enforcement agencies the ability to investigate and
prosecute certain types of crimes while, at the same time, offering protection
to cooperative victims so that they may aid in the investigation, apprehension
and prosecution without fear of deportation.
I AM THE VICTIM OF A CRIME. DO I QUALIFY FOR A U-VISA?
U-Visas may be available to undocumented immigrants who have been the victim of
one of the following qualifying crimes and/or who have specific knowledge and details
of one of the following qualifying crimes:
Abusive Sexual Contact,
Female Genital Mutilation,
Being Held Hostage,
Obstruction of Justice,
Unlawful Criminal Restraint,
Other Related Crimes*†
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime
are substantially similar. †Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above,
and other related, crimes.
To qualify a victim must also have useful information concerning
the crime which occurred; have helped, or is likely to help, in the
investigation or prosecution of the crime; and the crime committed violated the
laws of the United States or occurred in the United States.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A U-VISA?
Forms, instructions and additional information are available the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services website. Filing a U-Visa is complex and may
require the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney, please
speak with a victim advocate about available resources in the community.
IS THERE A LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF U-VISAS IMMIGRATION CAN
Immigration may grant no more than 10,000 U-Visas in any fiscal year. The limit
does not apply to spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings who are
accompanying or following to join the primary victim. If the cap is reached in
any fiscal year before all petitions are approved, Immigration will create a
waiting list. Applicants placed on the waiting list will be given deferred action
(they will be eligible to apply for employment authorization and permitted to
travel) until their petitions can be approved after the start of the following
HOW LONG CAN AN IMMIGRANT HAVE A U-VISA?
U-Visa status cannot exceed 4 years. After 3 years an immigrant in U-Visa
status can apply to become a lawfully permanent resident.