Picture of Erika Jurado-Graham

Erika Jurado-Graham

The U-Visa, Part One: Who Qualifies for a U-Visa?

Have you been the victim of a crime? You may qualify for a U-Visa if you meet THREE requirements. You must have 1) been the victim of a SERIOUS CRIME, 2) suffered substantial physical or mental INJURY because of the crime, and 3) HELPED in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. Do you meet each requirement?


Requirement #1: Is it a SERIOUS CRIME? A serious crime that qualifies for the U-Visa is one directed at your person. Examples include things like sex crimes, aggravated batteries and assaults, and domestic violence. Generally a crime is “aggravated” when a weapon is used during the crime or serious injury has been inflicted. So a simple assault or battery usually does not qualify for a U Visa. Again, the crime must be directed at your person–not just your property. So if your home is robbed while you are away, or your vehicle or property is damaged while you are absent, the crime does not qualify.


Requirement #2: Has there been substantial physical or mental INJURY? If you are seriously injured during a crime, you may be able to prove substantial physical injury depending on the extent. It helps to have photographs or medical reports to prove substantial physical injury. If you suffered no physical injury but suffered emotionally as a result of the crime, this may qualify as substantial mental injury. To prove this, you could write a personal letter describing the emotional impact the crime has had upon you, or you could present a letter from a psychologist explaining the impact upon you.


Last, but not least, did you HELP in the investigation or prosecution of the crime? There are many ways you can meet this requirement. You may have simply dialed 911, provided a statement to officers who arrived at the scene, or identified the suspect to police. Or you may have actually testified at the suspect’s trial or provided information to the District Attorney’s Office.


If you have been the victim of a crime and think you may qualify for a U-Visa, please contact our office and we will help guide you through the specific requirements. The U-Visa is an excellent path for ultimately gaining legal status in the United States!


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