You don’t want to lose what may be your only opportunity to obtain lawful status in the United States. After already suffering a tremendous life-altering event or set of circumstances, seeking lawful status can often make matters more complicated.
Domestic violence, and trafficking, in the United States, as well as suffering persecution abroad, are issues that are all too familiar within the immigrant population. Fortunately, though, there may be immigration relief for those who came to this country fleeing persecution and seeking asylum, and people already in the U.S. who are living a nightmare in their own homes.
Our legal system in the United States is complex and imperfect. Nonetheless, it does seek to offer certain relief to those who qualify. Our system provides certain individuals who are without lawful status (undocumented, visa overstay, etc.) with several roads to pursuing a legal status.
At the same time, though, each road has a specific set of requirements. If even one seemingly insignificant requirement is missing, this can make the difference between being eligible for lawful status or not.
Let’s speak for a moment about asylum. If you are here because you fled persecution on account of your race, religion or other similar characteristics in your native country, asylum is likely the method of relief that you could potentially qualify for. One procedural pitfall, however, is the requirement for seeking asylum within one year of arriving in the United States, with limited exception. An otherwise eligible candidate for asylum may be prevented from obtaining status due to missing this deadline. Simply put, if you came to the United States to flee persecution, you need to speak with an immigration attorney immediately. If you let one year pass, this door of opportunity for you will likely be closed.
A U-Visa may be an option for you if you have experienced physical abuse in your home or at the hands of your partner. But—the U-Visa candidate is only eligible in cases where he or she has cooperated with law enforcement in prosecuting or investigating the abuser.
U-Visa applicants are in a rare class of nonimmigrant applicants due to the wide class of waivers available to those granted relief. Acts that would generally make an applicant ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa, such as entering the United States without permission, can be waived at the discretion of the government. Every applicant has a different set of circumstances that could potentially make him or her ineligible for a visa, but an immigration attorney can help determine the immigration violations that have been committed and how to address these issues in the form of a request for a waiver.
Understand that in order to be able to submit an application for a U-Visa, you need to obtain certification from the law enforcement agency that is familiar with your case. (This is called a “Supplement B.”) Your lawyer will be able to help you navigate the processes and procedures, including working with the law enforcement agency to obtain certification, in order to ensure that your application will be submitted in a complete and thorough manner.
Please contact Joyce Law Firm to schedule a free consult with our immigration attorney.