The answer is yes! Even when placed in removal proceedings a U-visa may be an option for relief of removal.
Many potential U-visa applicants may be or have been in immigration removal proceedings, which take place in immigration court. You will be in removal proceedings when you receive a document called a Notice to Appear.
Victims who are currently still in removal proceedings or in detention may apply for a U-visa. An attorney can assist an applicant in applying for a motion to terminate removal proceedings that would end the applicant’s case in removal proceedings. Family members who are eligible to apply for U-visas are also eligible to terminate their removal proceedings. Those who already have a final removal order may file a motion to stay their removal. This would prevent them from being removed from the United States while their U-visa application is pending. After the U-visa is approved, any final order the U-visa holder has will be effectively cancelled.
However, if a U-visa is denied, the applicant may be reissued a Notice to Appear and once again placed in removal proceedings.
How do I know if I am eligible for a U-visa? According to USCIS you must meet the following:
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
Call to speak directly with an experienced immigration lawyer at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.