We Help Victims of Crime Navigate Complex Immigration Law Matters in and Around Portland, OR

At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland crime victim immigration rights lawyers have the skills and experience to handle U visas and VAWA cases. We are committed to helping vulnerable people deal with difficult, complex immigration matters. If you have any specific questions about U visas or VAWA’s immigration provisions, our legal team is more than happy to help. For a completely confidential case review with a top Portland crime victims attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Vulnerable Immigrants Face Unique Challenges

Vulnerable immigrants—especially those who are victims of crime—face unique challenges that can be difficult to overcome. These challenges can range from language barriers to fear of deportation, which can make it difficult for them to seek help and access the resources they need. Victims of crime may also experience trauma and a sense of isolation, which can further exacerbate their difficulties. Beyond that, some may be reluctant to report crimes out of fear of retaliation or a lack of trust in law enforcement. 

Here is the good news: There are specialized immigration options available for crime victims. Vanderwall Immigration is an immigration law firm made up of people from immigrant families. We are committed to helping vulnerable people in Portland and throughout Oregon to find immigration solutions that work.  

An Overview of the U Visa Process

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) explains that a U visa is a non-immigrant visa that is reserved 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.” A U visa allows a recipient to live and work in the U.S. for a period of up to 4 years. Notably, U Visa holders can eventually apply for permanent residency.

The process of obtaining a U Visa begins with the victim reporting the crime to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The applicant must then obtain a certification from a qualifying agency, such as a police department, prosecutor’s office, or a judge, which attests to their cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This certification, known as Form I-918, Supplement B, is a critical component of the U Visa application. Once the certification is obtained, the applicant must complete and submit Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, along with the Supplement B certification and other required documentation, such as personal statements, evidence of the crime, and proof of the substantial harm suffered by the victim. 

What to Know About the Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is landmark legislation enacted by the United States Congress in 1994 to protect and support victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. In addition to creating numerous programs and resources for victims, VAWA also includes specific immigration provisions designed to offer relief and protection to immigrant victims of abuse. Notably, this is a gender-neutral law. Men are also protected by the VAWA. Here are some key aspects of the VAWA immigration provisions:

SELF-PETITIONING: VAWA allows eligible victims of abuse to self-petition for lawful immigration status independently of their abuser. This enables victims to escape abusive situations without fear of losing their immigration status or being deported.

ELIGIBILITY: To qualify for VAWA immigration benefits, the victim must be a spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) abuser. The victim must also demonstrate a good-faith marriage, a history of abuse, and good moral character.

CONFIDENTIALITY: VAWA ensures that any information provided by the victim during the self-petition process remains confidential and cannot be disclosed to the abuser or used against the victim in any adverse immigration proceeding.

REMOVAL CANCELLATION: VAWA provides an opportunity for eligible victims to have their removal proceedings canceled, allowing them to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.

U Visa and VAWA Immigration: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Immigration Options Available for Crime Victims?

Crime victims may be eligible for certain immigration options, such as U visas and relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These options aim to protect victims of crimes and domestic violence, offering them a pathway to legal status, work authorization, and in some cases, eventual permanent residency. Eligibility for immigration protection is always highly case specific.

What is a U visa?

A U visa is a nonimmigrant visa specifically designed for victims of certain crimes who have suffered significant harm and are willing to assist law enforcement and/or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Eligible individuals can obtain temporary legal status, work authorization, and potentially a path to permanent residency.

How Do You Prove that You are Eligible for a U Visa in Portland, Oregon?

U visas are notoriously complex. In order to qualify to get a U visa, an applicant must meet a number of different statutory requirements. Here are the main eligibility standards for a U visa: 

  1. Be a victim of a qualifying criminal activity that occurred in the United States; 
  2. Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime; 
  3. Possess credible and reliable information about the crime; 
  4. Assist cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  5. Be admissible to the U.S. or obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. 
What are VAWA’s Immigration Provisions?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a comprehensive United States federal law. Within it, there are immigration provisions that provide relief for certain victims of domestic violence, specifically abused spouses, children, or parents of American citizens or permanent residents. VAWA allows eligible individuals to self-petition for lawful status without the involvement of an abusive family member. 

What are the Eligibility Requirements for VAWA Immigration Relief?

Are you considering applying for immigration relief through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). You meet the following eligibility standards: 

  1. Be a spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; 
  2. Be a victim of battery, abuse, or extreme cruelty by the citizen/permanent resident; 
  3. Have resided with the abusive family member within the United States; and
  4. Be a person of good moral character yourself. 

Victims of Crime Can Rely On Vanderwall Immigration for Immigration Law

For victims of domestic violence or other criminal offenses, immigration law can be especially complicated. There are valuable options available specifically for vulnerable people. At Vanderwall Immigration, our compassionate immigration law team helps victims of crime explore, understand, and take full advantage of every immigration option that is available to them under the law. We are proactive and committed to personalized legal representation. Among other things, our Portland U visa and VAWA immigration lawyer is prepared to: 

  • Listen to your story and answer immigration questions during a confidential case review;
  • Investigate your case, helping you gather the documents and records you need; 
  • Handle all of the immigration paperwork (U visa, VAWA, etc); and
  • Take whatever action is required to help you get justice and the best outcome.  

Contact Our Portland U Visa and VAWA Attorney Immigration Attorney Today

At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland U visa and VAWA immigration lawyer has professional experience that you can trust. If you have any specific questions or concerns about immigration options for crime victims, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today to arrange your confidential case review. With a legal office located in Beaverton, our firm provides immigration law representation to vulnerable people in Portland and throughout the wider region.