How a U Visa Helps You Get a Green Card

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How a U Visa Helps You Get a Green Card

did you know that you could get legal status and a green card when you’re a victim of violent crime and you help law enforcement today we’re going to discuss what is the u visa what benefits can you get from a u visa what are the requirements to apply which of your family members can get a u visa with you five mistakes to avoid that can get your u visa denied how to use a u visa to get a green card and how much does it cost and how long does it take so what is the u visa and how to get a green card from this process let’s start with some general information ubiso was created to help law enforcement get criminals off the street immigrants are typically afraid to speak to the police so even when they are victims of a crime they believe that they might get detained or they might get arrested they might get deported so the u visa will not only protect them the victim in this case you but also your entire family will get legal status along with you and ultimately a green card now only 10 000 visas are issued each year for the u visa so it’s taking over four years to get a u visa from the date that you apply what are the benefits of a u visa i’m glad you asked the u visa allows you to remain legally in the u.s for four years after three years you can apply for your green card so it is a path that ultimately will result in citizenship the u visa also is extended to certain of your family members for example your spouse or your minor children by minor i mean under 21 who also have no immigration status in the u.s if they were born here obviously they don’t need this this now the ubz gives you work authorization a social security number and with those two you can then apply for a driver’s license you can immediately apply for some public benefits and you don’t have to worry about the public charge requirements for a green card what are the requirements for you for a u visa well first you have to be a victim of a qualifying criminal activity in that occurred in the united states now the crimes don’t need to have been completed uh for example if someone attempted to commit a qualifying crime or solicited or conspired to commit these crimes that is sufficient let me give you some examples of some categories of different crimes so first violent crimes murder manslaughter vehicular homicide robbery assault domestic violence stalking all of those are violent crimes that qualify for a u visa then there’s enslavement crimes so criminal restraint kidnapping abduction forced labor slavery human trafficking indentured or debt servitude and false imprisonment are all qualifying crimes third category will be sexual crimes rape incest sexual trafficking sexual assault prostitution sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation the fourth are obstructive of obstruction of justice crimes like perjury witness tampering withholding of evidence and the last category and the newest is fraud in foreign labor contracting so you need to be a victim of one of those qualifying categories of crime or a crime that’s substantially similar to one of those five categories that i explained secondly you have to have suffered serious physical or mental abuse because of a qualifying qualifying crime it’s not enough to just be a victim you must have suffered substantial physical or emotional abuse due to the crime immigration will consider how severe the injury was for how long the abuse occurred and how likely it caused you permanent harm for example if someone comes up to you and pushes you well that could be an assault you follow you call the police maybe they get arrested maybe they even get convicted but you you know for for a little bump that isn’t really significant or serious harm now if that happened on a regular basis if sometimes actually you were beaten and you were beaten dramatically and in this incident there wasn’t as much abuse for this incident but as a prior history well that’s a different story three you must have information about the qualifying crime if you are a minor or disabled a parent guardian or friend can assist law enforcement on your behalf four you wore sir excuse me you were or will be helpful to law enforcement

in the investigation or prosecution of the crime if you are a minor or disabled a parent guardian or friend can assist law enforcement for you five a government agency like the prosecutor uh the police investigating the crime signs a law enforcement certification for you known as form i-918 supplement b and lastly you are admissible to the united states however if you are inadmissible a u visa gives you the option of applying for a waiver by filing form i-192 the more significant the inadmissibility the stronger your case needs to be on the other factors the waiver can cure things like illegal entry orders of removal and some crimes so immigration is going to look at it in the totality of circumstances if you entered without permission illegally and that’s the only issue you have yes you need a waiver but that isn’t a significant negative strike if you have multiple drug charges if you were convicted of domestic violence in the past or or robbery or duis so again immigration is going to look at what did totality the circumstances let’s look at all of the elements how much you suffered what was the crime um how helpful were you who did you take off the streets and in comparison to your past criminal conduct and then decide do you deserve to get it or not now which of your dependents can get a u visa with you well for every dependent you need to fill out form i-918 supplement a for each dependent if you as the victim are over 21 years old then your spouse and your children under 21 can receive derivative u visa status when you are approved so you file when you’re approved your derivatives get it if you as the victim are under 21 years old so if you’re an adult if you’re over 21 it’s your spouse or your children under 21 who obviously are not u.s citizens or lawful permanent residents because otherwise they would need it if you are a minor under 21 years old then your spouse your unmarried children again that’s the same but if you’re under 21 your parents can receive this benefit and any unmarried siblings you have that are under 18 let me give you five mistakes to avoid in the u visa process and i i see these way too often you know when the longer we’ve been doing this the more you know clients come to us after they’ve been to another attorney sometimes mistakes were made sometimes they never did anything others you know they they filed and then they didn’t provide their proper information and now they need to respond and they’re not sure what to do so the first common mistake that i see others either with an attorney or without an attorney is not including the law enforcement certification with the initial application this is form i-918 supplement p you will be denied 100 of the time if you don’t file the law enforcement certification now years ago people would file for a u visa and then supplement it with the supplement b i never did that i never recommend that because if you can’t get the supplement b then all i’m doing is telling immigration where you live and if you get denied they can come pick you up that’s not a smart play in my opinion second not including all your grounds of inadmissibility in the form i-192 waiver look a u visa has a built-in waiver but if you don’t ask for things that make you ineligible yeah they’re not going to approve it you have to disclose everything that might make you ineligible if you can if you killed somebody it’s pretty clear that it’s pretty clear that makes you ineligible it’s also pretty clear you’re not likely to get approved but what happens if you have multiple entries what happens if you have prior applications or maybe there’s allegations of possible fraud you need to include everything it’s why we suggest doing a full background search with the fbi and all seven immigration agencies to make sure we catch everything third too often i see dependents left out of a petition and missing their opportunity let me give you an example this is a case i’ve had let’s imagine that you were a victim of a domestic violence for example say it was i don’t know 17 years ago now today you have two kids you’re with your significant other for the past 15 years you live together but the two of you are not married

you file for you visa for just you well your kids don’t need it because they’re u.s citizens they were born here but your significant other could be included if if you guys get married and why not get married you have two years you have two kids and you’re together 15 years it’s your spouse and everything that matters but not in the eyes of the law another example not including your minor children when you applied or after you apply your kids married before the petition is approved so your kids have to be unmarried and under 21 if after you apply your kids married they’ll get disqualified i’ve seen two cases like that and it is a shame fourth common mistake to avoid giving up on requesting the law enforcement certification too early i see too often the attorneys sent one letter to the police station never got a response or got a denial and that’s it they said you know what i can’t help you well let me tell you police is not the only agency that can sign so is a municipal prosecutors county prosecutors uh judge yes prosecutor but also division of civil rights eeoc a division of childhood protection and placement you formerly known as deifus in new jersey any agency with investigatory authority can sign the certification if you don’t ask them they’re not going to do it so make sure you ask all of them before you give up fifth giving up in other words not filing because the abuser wasn’t convicted so assuming you were a victim of qualifying crime right that’s step number one you reported it to the police and you assisted in the investigation you meet the criteria even if the abuser wasn’t convicted now whether whether an agency is going to sign the law enforcement is a different story but let me give you an example let’s say you were charged with uh so you were a victim of of uh assault and robert someone came in attacked you pulled the gun stabbed you what have you you went to the hospital you spoke to the police you pointed out who they were and the but the police never found them okay so in that case you can’t speak to the prosecutor you can’t speak to the judge because the case never got to them you can only speak to the police but let’s say they found them so here’s an example that i actually had there was a workplace incident that was recorded one woman attacked another in front the police were called and then she attacked him again in front of the police she was arrested now she was released on bail and then she disappeared so she was not convicted but it’s not your fault she has an order of arrest against her and when she comes up she’s going to have to deal with it whenever they finally find her or another let’s say in that example uh she’s arrested ice picks her up because she has an order of removal and she’s deported she was never convicted of this crime but because of what you did and how you assisted a criminal was taken off the street so that is sufficient for under purposes of the law but again if you don’t request the supplement fee you’re never gonna get it in each of these scenarios you can still qualify and achieve a u visa when can i get my u visa result in a green card set another way when can i get a green card after having a u visa what are the requirements to get my green card well first you must have been continuously present in the us for three years with u visa status that means no trip out of the u.s more than 90 days and in total not having been out of the u.s for more than 180 days now it’s better not to have traveled outside of the u.s at all in order to travel you need to file for advanced parole i don’t recommend it if it’s an emergency you can do it but they can give you a hard time trying to come in it shouldn’t happen but the last thing you want to do is you know after a 12 hour flight show up at newark or jfk get turned around and then have to litigate while you’re outside the country it’s better to wait until you get your green card and then travel if you do travel you need to document when you left and when you entered alternatively if your travel outside the u.s was necessary to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the crime you need a written explanation of that by a government official basically on their letterhead saying hey this trip was in the furtherance of our investigation you know because of your help it resulted in someone’s arrest and they were extradited to the united states to face charges for the crimes they committed in the u.s again that’s just an example

now second so the first is you have to have been in the u.s continuously for three years third you have not unreasonably refused to cooperate with law enforcement investigation and prosecuting the crime against you now what that means is the supplement b that was signed might have been signed before let’s say the investigation was continuing but hadn’t been charged with a crime yet or the trial was ongoing or you served as a confidential informant for a number of years before and they helped you achieve legal status in the interim now while that’s going you must continue to be helpful you but it has to be a reasonable request and i’ll talk about that in a moment but here’s a big one july 31st 2019 immigration updated the law enforcement resource guide which now encourages law enforcement to limit their issuance of these certificates or disavow them if you don’t cooperate basically it’s no surprise this administration is making it easier for you to lose your status and actually advising agencies not to sign certifications or to reduce when they reissue them you may need a new form i19 a new supplement b with your green card as proof that you are a willing participant in the investigation or prosecution you shouldn’t require it that shouldn’t be necessary but it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re going to start seeing some of those requests you need to document each meeting that you have with law enforcement to explain how you’ve been helpful again assuming it comes up now if you refuse a request to cooperate you will need to explain the reasons for example if the police wanted you to meet with the attacker who raped you that would not be a reasonable request that would be the opposite an unreasonable request and that is not a basis to deny that you’re being cooperating three third requirements so again first you must have resided continuously in the united states second you must have you can’t have unreasonably refused to cooperate third your presence in the u.s is justified on humanitarian reasons to ensure family unity or it’s in the public interest green card is completely discretionary benefit you must prove that you deserve it you need to show your family ties to the u.s achievement and accomplishments and any reason you and your family would suffer hardship if you’re returned to your country your accomplishments have to be particularly strong if you have criminal convictions fifth you are not inadmissible to the u.s because of participation in nazi persecution genocide or other extraditional killings again not commonly seen nowadays but maybe more common in parts of north of africa now what if i married my spouse after i applied for my u visa can my spouse get a u visa or a green card so here what we’re talking about you were a victim of a qualifying crime you received the law enforcement certification you applied for your visa and then you married to an undocumented immigrant and you now want to get your spouse your visa status or a green card immigration refers to this after as in after acquired spouse unfortunately your after acquired spouse can’t get a u visa through the your process in order to qualify you must have been married before you applied however don’t give up hope just yet when you apply for your green card by filing form i-485 or you already got it your spouse could also qualify for a green card by filing form i-929 that is a petition for qualifying family member of a u visa non-immigrant visa your spouse’s i-929 can’t be approved until after your i-45 is approved so if your petition is denied hers will be also you will need to show extreme hardship if she isn’t allowed to stay in the united states with you in addition to proving she’s your spouse so what we’re saying is you can’t file for her to get a u visa if you if you got married after you filed however when you file for your green card it’s been approved um or it’s pending either way you can file for your spouse to also get her green card in other words she can skip the u visa stage but there are additional requirements you got to show extreme hardship to her and of course you got to show that it’s a bona fide marriage now how much does it cost to get a green card through u visa and how long does it take we start with the three questions and

create a plan for you before we accept you as a client we only want clients we can help do you qualify for a u visa through excuse me so question number one is do you qualify for a u visa or a green card through a u visa now we just went over what those requirements are second is there something in your past that can disqualify you like multiple entries prior denied petitions criminal charges removal proceedings and three can we fix that problem like a motion to reopen post conviction relief or a waiver if we can’t do one two and three meaning if you qualify but there’s something in your past that disqualifies you but we can’t fix it then we won’t accept you as a client we don’t want to do anything that puts you in harm’s way one of our core values is we put you in a better position in a better place than when you entered our world that’s why we do these three questions to ensure that we can get you to the finish line because we focus on these three questions two clients who are both filing for a u visa might have very different fees in general here’s how we look at immigration fees irrespective of whether you are filing for a u visa or you are ready for filing for your green card we look at it the same way step one you’re applying for a process it’s you visa or it’s green card we typically charge between six thousand and nine thousand for that process depending on the issues and that complexity that it presents second do we need to order documents from immigration through the four-year process seven agents the seven agent immigration agencies for prior border contacts uh prior deportation prior petitions that that were filed third do we need to order copies from criminal courts and a background search from the fbi because those are things that could disqualify you now we typically charge a thousand dollars per person for the foia and the criminal background search if there’s something that makes you ineligible we then have to fix it through a waiver or reopening a criminal case or reopening a removal order or filing some other form of relief the cost really varies depends on what we do that’s a broad spectrum of stuff that i just threw at you but generally it’s anywhere from three thousand to fifteen thousand the more expensive one is usually when we reopen a criminal charge and we’re charging you to defend you in that case so we have to now do what you failed to do when you were initially convicted it really depends on the severity of the charges you faced are you applying so let’s take a step back now right we have so how much does it cost we have a application process that’s six to nine thousand dollars including the supporting documents do we need to do a background search for you or for your spouse uh and we charge a thousand dollars for each is there something in your past that disqualifies you and can we fix it if there is then motion to reopen uh post conviction relief maybe a waiver and each one of those depending what the issue is each one of those have a different price to fix it and are you applying for just yourself or are you applying for your spouse or for your kids or for your parents are they in the us or are they outside or is it mixed some are here and some are out we typically charge a nominal fee to include kids between 500 to a thousand dollars if your kids or your spouse are outside the united states there will be an additional fee for consular process but that is only after the u visa is approved do your family members need a waiver so we have to look at your situation do you have a path something in your past that disqualifies you and three can we fix it and we have to have the same analysis for your significant other parents or children you know do they do they qualify yes as your derivative or you got to get married in order to get qualified second is there something in their past that makes them disqualified and if so can we fix it same consideration that we use for you now waivers are usually only if they’re in the united states so generally speaking if your significant other is outside of the u.s she usually will not need a waiver unless she was here and then left and it’s been has been gone for less than 10 years again every situation is slightly different every one of these things that i mentioned has a cost it’s for that reason that my assistants can’t give you a price on the phone it requires the knowledge and experience to figure out what needs to be done and what we charge for those services today the u visa has taken over four years from filing to conditional approval then you can get work authorization but it could take another one or two years until a visa becomes available

so it does take time from when you file to when you get a u visa to when you’ve had it long enough so that you can now file for your green card as you see the fees vary dramatically depending on your situation but the good news is if you’ve had your u visa for three years then you are ready to file for your green card and be very careful here because if you you know if you wait after four years from having a u visa you’re disqualified and it’s very hard to get that renewed if we helped you with your u visa then we already ordered your background search and won’t need to do it again unless you’ve been charged with any new crimes or you didn’t request it in the first place the petition itself is this is now to get your green card keep in mind you’ve already had your visa the petition to get your green card is usually three to six thousand for form i-45 and associated forms improves each member of your family will need his or her own form we do discount if we are filing for multiple family members because at the end of the day it really depends on the victim if you have an interview and lately we are seeing almost everyone’s getting an interview we charge an appearance fee of 1500 to go with you to personally attend the interview with you you shouldn’t need any waivers because all those grounds of inadmissibility should have been dealt with at the u visa stage however if there are new issues you didn’t properly address them at that stage the cost is three to six thousand if you’re applying for a family member that didn’t previously get a u visa again think of after acquired spouse by so you’re now filing form i-929 that again is between three to six thousand dollars that family member would then need form i-45 that would have another fee of three or six thousand dollars when the i-929 is approved and that feb member likely will have an interview which would be another 1500 so again it does get complicated and it can get expensive as you can see the fees vary dramatically depending on your individual situation but you don’t need to worry because we do offer payment plans we also offer discounts for those who pay in full meaning in one payment now we give discounts for repeat customers so if we helped you with your u visa and you came back for your green card we’re gonna give you an additional discount the more money you bring with you to your consult the higher the possibility of getting a discount on your immigration case also if you need a payment plan the lower your payment plan is going to be because you paid more of it up front we give your case the priority that you do the sooner you pay for your case the sooner it gets filed we typically need several weeks once we have all the documents once you’ve answered all the questions and you’ve paid in full to file your case so again the more money you can bring with you to start your case the lower will be your parent plan and the faster your case will be filed thank you for joining us i’m andres mecher please subscribe to our channel and share this video with anybody you think needs information about how to get a u visa or how to get their green card from a u visa thank you