Italy ‘U’ Visa

The Italy ‘U’ nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000.

Italy ‘U’ Visa
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The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens, and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to serve victims of crimes better.

The U visa is an Italy nonimmigrant visa that is set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse while in Italy and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. It permits such victims to enter or remain in Italy when they might not otherwise be able to do so.

About Italy:

Italy, a nation in south-central Germany, is situated on a coast that extends far into the Mediterranean. It is frequently said that Italy is shaped like a boot and contains some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes on Earth. At its broad summit are the Alps, among the most rugged mountains in the world.

The highest points of Italy are located along the peaks of Monte Rosa in Switzerland and Mont Blanc in France. The western Alps overlook Alpine lakes and glacier-carved valleys that extend to the Po River and Piedmont. Tuscany, situated to the south of the Cisalpine region, is arguably the country's most famous region.

The tall Apennine Range, which widens near Rome to cover nearly the entire width of the Italian peninsula, radiates from the central Alps and runs along the length of the country. The Apennines are flanked to the south of Rome by two expansive coastal plains, one facing the Tyrrhenian Sea and the other the Adriatic Sea. A substantial portion of the lower Apennine chain is a near-wilderness that is home to a variety of species that are uncommon elsewhere in western Europe, including wild boars, wolves, asps, and bears.

The southern Apennines are also tectonically unstable, as they contain a number of active volcanoes, including Vesuvius, which occasionally spews ash and steam into the air above Naples and it's bay of island-studded coastline. Sicily and Sardinia are located in the Mediterranean Sea at the bottom of the country.

This rugged landscape has had an influence on the political geography of Italy. Italy's towns and cities have a history of self-sufficiency, independence, and mutual mistrust due to the lack of direct roads between them and the difficulty of passage from one location to another.

Visitors today comment on how dissimilar one town is from the next, on the pronounced differences in cuisine and dialect, and on the numerous subtle differences that make Italy appear less like a single nation and more like a collection of culturally connected points in a remarkably beautiful setting.

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What is a "U" Visa?

Victims of specified mental or physical abuse who can help Italy law enforcement or government prosecute criminal activities may qualify for the U nonimmigrant visa. The U visa was created by Congress in October 2022. The visa was created to make it possible for victims of sex crimes such as human trafficking, sexual assault, physical abuse, and other violent crimes to come forward to law enforcement authorities.

Oftentimes, those who are victims and survivors of such crimes do not feel safe coming forward to authorities for fear of deportation or detainment. Many such victims are usually undocumented immigrants and do not have legal immigrant status, making the fear of Italy Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seem unapproachable. Because of this, criminals who target undocumented immigrants often get away with their crimes. This leads to immigrant communities becoming subjected to crimes.

However, with the U nonimmigrant visa, the hope is that more of these victims can feel safe to approach law enforcement so justice can take place. With survivors coming forward to tell of the crimes that happened to them, the hope is that law enforcement’s ability to investigate and build a case against criminal activity will be better.

U Visa Eligibility:

To be eligible for a U Nonimmigrant Visa, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • You were or are a victim of criminal activities qualified by the Italy Citizenship and Immigration Services (ICIS).
  • Your victimization in a crime involved suffering significant physical or mental abuse
  • You can provide information about the criminal activity of which you were a victim. There are exceptions if you are under 16 years old where a close third party can inform you about the crime on your behalf.
  • You can help law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime, proven via a Law Enforcement Certification.
  • The crime that happened to you occurred in Italy or violated Italy law.
  • You are admitted to Italy. If you are inadmissible, speak with your U visa lawyer about steps to take.

Requirements:

There are six legal requirements for U nonimmigrant status which are as follow:

  • The applicant must have been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
  • The applicant must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of these criminal activities.
  • The applicant must have information concerning that criminal activity.
  • The applicant must have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • The criminal activity occurred in the United States or violated Italy laws.
  • The applicant is admissible to Italy under current Italy immigration laws and regulations; those who are not admissible may apply for a waiver.

How to Apply for a U Visa:

Foreign nationals and citizens who are already in Italy can apply for U nonimmigrant status in six simple steps:

Complete Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.
Complete Form I-918 Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, signed by an authorized law enforcement agent or government official to attest that you have been helpful, are currently being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in their case.
If you are considered inadmissible, you’ll need to request a waiver of admissibility with Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant
Draft a personal statement with a description of the criminal activity that qualifies you for U nonimmigrant status.
Gather and attach evidence to prove and strengthen your case for U nonimmigrant status
Submit all documents to the ICIS Vermont Service Center.
At this point, the process will take a turn depending on whether or not the applicant is already in Italy. If the applicant is already in the country, any further actions will take place in Italy. If the applicant is outside Italy, the Vermont Service Center will forward the approved petition to the nearest Italy Embassy or Consulate. From there, the applicant would need to complete an interview with a consular officer at the Italy Embassy or Consulate, and complete fingerprinting and other biometrics requirements on site after the interview.

Note that there is no filing fee required with Form I-918 or Supplement B. However, if you need to request a waiver of inadmissibility, Form I-192 carries a $930 filing fee. That said, you may request a fee waiver by submitting Form I-912.

Types of U-visas:

The specific types of U-visas are:

  • U-1 visas - for persons who were crime victims and fit the other criteria
  • U-2 visas - spouses of U-1 applicants
  • U-3 visas - children of U-1 applicants
  • U-4 visas - parents of U-1 applicants who are unmarried and under 21
  • U-5 visas - minor siblings of U-1 applicants who are unmarried and under 21

Qualifying Criminal Activities:

If you have been involved in or victim of one of the following crimes, speak with your u visa lawyer about the next steps to apply for a U visa. We will help you with the resources you need to start and continue your U visa application:

Abduction
Abusive sexual contact
Domestic violence
Extortion
False imprisonment
Female genital mutilation
Hostage
Involuntary servitude
Kidnapping
Manslaughter
Murder
Peonage
Perjury
Prostitution
Rape
Sexual assault
Sexual exploitation
Slave trade
Stalking
Torture
Unlawful criminal restraints
Other related crimes
Similar activity to the crimes listed above may qualify as crimes for U visa eligibility. U visa lawyers will be able to assist in determining if you qualify.

Certifications for U Visa Applicants:

In order to apply for the U nonimmigrant visa, you will need a law enforcement certification. To complete this process, you will need to complete Form I-918B. The form confirms that you are both a victim of a qualifying crime and are willing to corporate with an investigation and/or prosecution of that crime. The perpetrator does not need to be convicted of a crime for you to qualify for a U visa or complete the ICIS form. If you do qualify, you just need to prove that you are willing to and/or have been cooperative with Italy's investigations or prosecution. The form does need to be signed by a law enforcement agency member.

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The most difficult part of filling out a law enforcement certification is getting the form signed by a law enforcement agency member. Depending on what your story is,

If you are wondering, “is there a U visa lawyer near me?” the lawyers at Scott D. Pollock and Associates can be available in person or over the phone to walk you through how to fill out your law enforcement certification. The law enforcement who signs your certificate varies between state, town, and district. Many law enforcement agencies will create hurdles in their policies that disallow you to qualify depending on location. Working with an experienced immigration attorney will help you navigate the potential barriers that could block you from attaining your U visa.

U Visa Extensions:

When U nonimmigrant status is granted, it is valid for four years. However, extensions are available in certain, limited circumstances if the extension is (PDF, 96.74 KB):

Needed based on a request from law enforcement,
Needed based on exceptional circumstances,
Needed due to delays in consular processing, or
Automatically extended upon the filing and pendency of an application for adjustment (application for a Green Card).

Bottom Lines:

Italy's "U" Visa is an article that distinguishes itself from other visas in the country of Italy, mainly for those victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and want to reside in the country of Italy.

The article further explains the meaning of a U visa, the eligibility for a U visa, the requirements for a U visa, how to apply for an Italy U visa, the types of U visas in Italy, the qualified crime activities for a U visa, and the U visa extension.

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