Victim of crime, domestic violence or trafficking? Get the U, T or VAWA Petition.


I am a victim of Violence. What can I do?

Question: I have been a victim of crime and also my friend was basically a slave for her employer. What can we do?

Answer: There are different types of visas for these matters. Basically, the U, T and VAWA petitions. In March 2013 Congress enacted several changes to
the William Wilberforce Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) &
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008(TVPRA)
that affect T and U visa eligibility. T visas are designed for
victims of trafficking in persons, which includes sex trafficking or
labor trafficking. U visas are for victims of certain qualifying
crimes, such as domestic violence and sexual assault, and the victim
must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result
of the crime. To qualify for the U visa, the victim of a qualifying
crime generally must provide assistance to law enforcement. To
qualify for the T visa, a victim is required to cooperate with
reasonable requests from law enforcement related to their
victimization, with limited exceptions. In addition, the
trafficking or crime must have violated the laws of the United
States or occurred in the United States including its territories
and possessions. For T visas, the victim must be physically present
in the United States on account of the trafficking.

In fact, the Visas have been around for some time, except there are new regulations making it easier to obtain for derivatives and some other matters.

Question: What changes were made?

Answer: Unmarried children for whom the
principal applicant has filed a petition before the child turned 21
remain eligible for the visa after they turn 21. The age of the
unmarried child is established and set when the principal applicant
files the U petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS). The law previously did not allow unmarried children of
U visa holders to remain eligible for the visa after they turned 21,
even if they had filed the petition before they turned 21 and had
waited several years to get their visa. In addition, unmarried
children who are the principal applicants now receive age-out
protection in terms of their parents and unmarried siblings under
age 18 being able to qualify as derivative family members. T visas
already afforded age-out protection for children over 21; the law
was changed to mirror T visas in this respect.

Question: What happens if I know somebody who had a case like this, but did his kid already aged out?

Answer: The age-out protection is retroactive. This
means that any principal applicant who filed a U visa petition
before the derivative family member turned 21, and the derivative
family member is now older than 21 and was denied the visa because
he or she had aged out, is now eligible for a visa. The age-out protection for derivative children does not, however, change the requirement that the beneficiary
remain unmarried to be eligible for this visa. If the beneficiary marries before the visa is issued, they will no longer be eligible.

Question: Are there any other changes?Answer: U visa applicants are no longer subject to
the public charge ground of inadmissibility, INA 212(a)(4).
Consequently, applicants are no longer required to submit Affidavits
of Support (I-864). Because public charge is no longer a basis for
inadmissibility, USCIS will no longer apply this inadmissibility.
Therefore, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not need to
issue waivers on the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as
a Nonimmigrant (I-192) on this inadmissibility ground.

T-derivative status has been expanded to include certain adult or minor children of a T-visa
derivative (T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5). These derivatives are the
grandchild (ren), stepchild(ren), niece(s) or nephew(s), and the
sibling(s) of the principal applicant. For the children of a
derivative to qualify for T-derivative status, the child (adult or
minor) must “face a present danger of retaliation as a result of the
alien principal’s escape from the severe form of trafficking or
cooperation with law enforcement.” USCIS will determine what this
means in the context of petition adjudication. Consular officers
will not re-examine the basis for this determination and visa
eligibility, but will issue visas in this new category once USCIS
establishes it. USCIS anticipates this category will be “T-6.”

Question: What about changes to VAWA?

Answer: These applicants are no longer subject to
the public charge inadmissibility, INA 212(a)(4). Consequently,
applicants are no longer required to submit Affidavits of Support
(I-864). Because public charge is no longer a basis for
inadmissibility, USCIS will no longer apply this ineligibility.
Therefore, DHS will not need to issue waivers on these grounds.

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