The Shirazi Law Group, INC is very committed to serving our surrounding communities above all. One of our strongest partners among the Hispanic community in Norcross is St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Often, Immigration Attorney Amna Shirazi and Community Relations Director Sebastian Parra along with Georgia State Representative Pedro “Pete” Marin hold educational workshops at this congregation providing free information about immigration law topics.
Recently, we had the opportunity to visit St. Patrick’s Church on a Sunday afternoon for a Immigration Law Workshop to talk about the U-Visa, which is a form of relief granted to victims of criminal activity. We would like to provide the information given on that day to those who could not make it on this article:
The U Visa was created by congress in 2000 through the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Most victims of common crimes qualify (sexual abuse, abduction, kidnapping, murder, torture; among others) but the crime must have been committed in the United States or violated U.S laws. The purpose of this program is for victims of qualified crimes to assist law enforcement in the prosecution and conviction of criminals. The testimony provided by the victim of the crime must be crucial and helpful for law enforcement.
How to apply for a U-Visa
The forms to be filed are: I-918 and I-918 B. In order for the crime to be certified as a qualifying offense a law enforcement agency must complete the I-918B supplement. Once the application has been received, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will proceed to conduct a thorough background check of the applicant by gathering their biometric information (fingerprints).
If found eligible, the petitioner will receive a nonimmigrant status to live and work in the United States for no longer than 4 years. However, after 3 years the beneficiary may apply to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident, which will put them on the path to become American Citizens as well.
Additionally, the immediate family of the victim will be eligible for the same benefits; these qualifying family members are:
Unmarried children under the age of 21 of principal U visa recipients
Spouses of principal U visa recipients
Parents of principal U visa recipients
Unmarried siblings under 18 years old of principal U visa recipients under age 21.
The importance of a lawyer
Doing this process without a qualified immigration lawyer could potentially delay or diminish the chances of obtaining a U Visa. The Shirazi Law Group, INC under Immigration Attorney Amna Shirazi has acquired experience of more than 14 years working only on immigration law. Besides helping clients with U Visas and stopping deportation proceedings, we are experts on National Visa Center cases when a Legal Permanent Resident or an American Citizen want to petition for a family member. Additionally, we help our clients obtain Work Authorization, Legal Permanent Residence, American Citizenship through naturalization (N-
400) and Political Asylum; among other cases with USCIS. For more information please visit:
//www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes/victims-criminal- activity-u-nonimmigrant-status/victims-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant- status#U%20Nonimmigrant%20Eligibility