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Addison U Visa AttorneyIn 2000, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which created the U nonimmigrant status, also known as the U visa. This law was intended to allow law enforcement agencies to better serve the victims of crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Immigrant victims of crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and who are willing to help law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute these crimes are eligible to receive a U visa and remain in the United States.

Eligibility Requirements

To receive a U visa, all of the following eligibility requirements must be true:

  • You are the victim of a qualifying crime.
  • You suffered substantial mental or physical abuse because of that crime.
  • You have information about the criminal activity.
  • You are helpful, were helpful, or were likely to be helpful to law enforcement officials during the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
  • The crime occurred in the United States.
  • You are eligible to be in the United States.

In addition, you must submit a signed certification from a law enforcement official to be used as evidence in support of the petition for a U visa. This certification will give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) information about the criminal case, including your willingness in the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing of the crime. Any federal, state, or local law enforcement authority who plays a part in the criminal case may complete the certification. Other officials such as child protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor can also complete the certification.

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Bolingbrook spousal immigration attorneyEach year, thousands of immigrants become permanent citizens of the United States. As the country was founded by immigrants, the U.S. promotes family unity by allowing U.S. citizens to petition for their foreign-born spouses to come to the U.S. to live with them permanently. In some cases, you can also petition for your spouse’s children to also come live permanently in the United States. Immigration law is extremely complex, and it can sometimes be difficult to understand what exactly you must do to file a petition. A knowledgeable Bolingbrook immigration lawyer can help you understand the process and the steps that must be followed.

Beginning Steps

The first thing you must do when petitioning to have your spouse come to the United States is fill out Form I-130, which is the Petition For Alien Resident form. If your spouse has already entered the United States lawfully, they must fill out Form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence, and this must be submitted along with Form I-130. When you submit this form, you must also submit the filing fee, which is currently $535.

Supporting Evidence

In addition to your applications, you must also submit all required supporting evidence for your petition. If you are a U.S. citizen, you must prove your status by submitting a copy of one of the following:

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Woodridge fiance immigration lawyerImmigration has been a hot topic in recent years. Under the current presidential administration, immigration policies have been under scrutiny, and fiancé visas - officially known as K-1 visas - have taken a hit. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), around 90 percent of fiancé visas were approved in 2016. In 2017, when President Donald Trump took office, the percentage of approved fiancé visas dropped to around 66 percent. Even though fiancé visas are getting harder to obtain, it is not impossible to get one - you just need the help of a skilled immigration attorney.

Eligibility Requirements for a K-1 Visa

In order to successfully obtain a visa for your fiancé, you must meet certain requirements. Though every visa petition is different, there are a few common requirements that you must meet. Eligibility requirements include:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen;
  • Both you and your spouse must be able to become legally married;
  • You must intend to marry your fiancé within 90 days of receiving the visa;
  • You must have physically met each other face-to-face at least once within the past two years; and
  • You must meet certain income requirements to prove that you can support your fiancé.

Other Elements of the K-1 Visa Process

In addition to meeting the requirements for a fiancé visa, you must also complete a series of other steps in order to successfully complete the process:

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Factors that Can Make a Person Ineligible for a Visa

Aurora immigration attorney visa denialIf you are a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), there are ways that you can bring your spouse, fiancé, or other family members into the U.S. to live with you if they are a citizen of another country. Unfortunately, not all who apply for visas receive them. While there is not a limit on the number of visas issued to spouses of U.S. citizens, only a certain number of other types of visas are issued each year to allow people to enter, live, and work in the United States. In addition to restrictions on the number of visas issued, certain situations can disqualify your family member from obtaining a visa.

Health-Related Situations

The United States has specific requirements for people wishing to enter the country. Health-related issues usually revolve around sustaining the health of the public. Those applying for visas must have been vaccinated against:

  • Mumps;
  • Measles;
  • Rubella;
  • Polio;
  • Tetanus;
  • Diphtheria;
  • Pertussis;
  • Influenza type B; and 
  • Hepatitis B.

The U.S. also does not allow those who have a mental disorder and associated behavior that poses a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the person or others, or those who are determined to be drug abusers or addicts.

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How U Visas Can Protect Immigrant Workers

Carol Stream immigration visa lawyerAn estimated 1.13 million people obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States in 2017, according to the Department of Homeland Security. While employer exploitation can happen to anyone, immigrants tend to be the target of exploitation or abuse, threatening the lawful immigration status of many workers.

Abusive Behaviors of Employers

Certain behaviors exhibited by employers can violate laws related to wages and hours, protections provided by equal employment laws, or workers’ rights to participate in protected collective activity, but sometimes employer abuse can be considered a criminal offense. These behaviors include things such as:

  • Trafficking
  • Rape
  • Unlawful criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment
  • Blackmail
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Witness tampering
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Extortion
  • Domestic Violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Being held hostage
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder

In situations which these behaviors occur, workers may possibly be eligible to receive a U visa.

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