To be eligible for U non-immigrant status, an individual must show that he or she:Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of specific criminal activity in the U.S. The specific crimes include rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, peonage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury, or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above-mentioned crimes, or any similar activity in violation of federal, state, or local criminal law.
The individual must also have information concerning that criminal activity and must have been (or currently be) helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
The first step in applying for U non-immigrant status is obtaining a certification from law enforcement regarding the individual’s helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Without the certification from law enforcement, a person cannot submit a petition for U status to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
If the certification is obtained, the person must then submit the U petition with all supporting documents and any relevant waivers. Often, U applicants require waivers for having entered the U.S. without inspection and/or for being present in the U.S. without lawful immigration status.
If approved for U status, the person receives work authorization and the ability to receive a social security number and a driver’s license. After an individual has been in U status for three years, he or she can apply for permanent residence.