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Learn about the immigration protections available to victims of crime.

About immigration and victims

Immigration status can be a major barrier to safety and self-sufficiency for victims of crime. Perpetrators often use a victim’s lack of legal status to silence them and keep them from seeking the help they need and deserve. Fortunately, victims of crime are entitled to certain protections under immigration law.

Visa options

There are several options to obtain immigration status if you are a victim of domestic violence, human trafficking, or have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse.

  • VAWA Self-Petition: An individual who has experienced physical, emotional, sexual, or physcological abuse by their family member (spouse, parent, or adult child) may seek safety through this option. They can petition for their own immigration status and don’t have to rely on the abuser.
  • U Visa: Victims of crime, including domestic violence and sexual assault, may be eligible to apply for a U visa. The victim must be willing to assist the police, prosecutors, or some other part of the justice system to qualify.
  • T Visa: Survivors of human trafficking are eligible for this form of relief. A T visa provides protection to individuals who have been brought to the U.S. through force, fraud, or coercion. The survivor needs to cooperate with law enforcement to qualify.

Visit the United States Department of State visa homepage to view Frequently Asked Questions and determine which visa option is right for you.

For more information and guidance, please contact one of our attorneys.