If you enter the United States through a family visa or a fiance visa, your status largely depends on your relationship with the citizen or lawful permanent resident that you married. Unfortunately, that power imbalance sometimes leads to an abusive situation. Whether your spouse has physically abused you, attempted to traffic you or sexually assaulted you, you may qualify for a special U visa as a victim of criminal activity.
The U visa protects victims and helps with the prosecution of their abusersThe government has an invested interest in seeing criminals punished, so they want to make it easy for the victims of crime to assist the government in its prosecution. Many immigrant spouses are in a very legally vulnerable position. They may think they have to endure abuse or lose their residency in the United States — and that simply isn’t so. If the victim qualifies for a U visa, they can divorce their spouse and still stay in the United States. They must be the victim of a qualifying crime and assist the government in the prosecution of the perpetrator. Qualifying offenses include:
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment
- Fraud in foreign labor contracting
- Involuntary servitude
- Sexual exploitation
- Unlawful criminal restraint