Coming to the United States is a dream for many, but it does not always turn out the way they envision it. Those who become victims of crime, spousal abuse or human trafficking may find their opportunities in the U.S. dwindle away. Any of these circumstances may have left you with no chance to seek lawful status or to renew a visa you may have possessed.
Fortunately, the government offers special help in the form of a U visa for those who suffer from violence. Qualifying for this program is challenging, and recent changes in the immigration policies in the country may add even more complications to your request.
Not easy to qualify
The U visa program allows you to remain in the country lawfully if you can demonstrate that you suffered serious trauma, physically or mentally, at the hands of your abuser. Additionally, you must agree to assist law enforcement as they investigation the crime and bring the offenders to justice. Since immigration authorities approve only 10,000 U visas a year, your application must be thorough and compelling.
Because of this, many who apply for the U visa are disappointed to receive a denial. In fact, the government annually rejects nearly 3,000 requests. Often, this means the denied applications did not include enough evidence of trauma, so the applicants may appeal the decision. Unfortunately, you may know well how difficult it can be to obtain that information, especially if your life or safety is in danger.
As you can imagine, obtaining a U visa is a long process. Many wait up to four years while their applications go through the examination process. For those who must appeal a denial, the wait is even longer. Currently, immigration agents are dealing with a backlog of over 128,000 applications. Adding even more risk to the process is the government’s new policy of seeking removal for those whose applications are denied or who have been waiting many years for a U visa.
Understandably, this new danger may cause you to hesitate before applying for this program. Advisors recommend that only those with strong cases apply. This means you can provide evidence of your suffering and your assistance to law enforcement in prosecuting the person or people who abused you. Because of the serious issues at stake, you would do well to begin the application process with the assistance of an experienced Kentucky legal professional.