U Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the U visa?

The U visa is designed to provide temporary legal status and protection to victims of qualifying crimes who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. It encourages crime victims to come forward without fear of deportation.

Who is eligible for a U visa?

To be eligible for a U visa, you must meet several criteria, including:

Being a victim of a qualifying crime.

Having suffered significant mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime.

Being helpful, or willing to be helpful, in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

Having proper certification from a law enforcement agency.

What are qualifying crimes for a U visa?

Qualifying crimes include but are not limited to:

Domestic violence

Sexual assault

Human trafficking


Felonious assault


False imprisonment



Fraud in foreign labor contracting

How long can I stay in the U.S. on a U visa?

U visa holders are initially granted four years of U.S. status. Extensions may be possible, and after three years of continuous presence in U visa status, you may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card).

Can my family members accompany me on a U visa?

Yes, certain family members, including your spouse, children, and, in some cases, parents and unmarried siblings under 18, may be eligible for U visas as derivative beneficiaries.

How do I apply for a U visa?

The process generally involves:

Filing a U visa petition (Form I-918) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Obtaining a law enforcement certification (Form I-918, Supplement B) to demonstrate your cooperation with law enforcement.

Gathering evidence and supporting documentation of the qualifying crime and your eligibility.

Waiting for USCIS to adjudicate your U visa petition.

If approved, applying for U visa status and work authorization.

Is there a numerical cap on the number of U visas issued each year?

Yes, there is an annual cap of 10,000 U visas per fiscal year. However, certain family members (derivative beneficiaries) do not count against this cap.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on a U visa?

Yes, after three years of continuous presence in U visa status and meeting other eligibility requirements, you may apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card) through a U visa adjustment of status application (Form I-485).

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on a U visa?

Yes, U visa holders can travel outside the U.S. with proper authorization and documentation, but you should consult with your immigration attorney or USCIS for guidance on travel and re-entry.
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Vaibhav Singh
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Vishnu Prashanth
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010