Including Family Members in Your U-Visa Application

Including Family Members in Your U-Visa Application

The U-visa is a powerful tool in immigration law. It is a visa for people who have been victims of crimes, who have suffered substantial physical or mental injury as a result of having been the victim of a crime, and who were helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of that crime.

A beneficial aspect of the U-visa is that an applicant can include certain family members in their application- even if the family member was not a victim of the crime too.

When Can I ‘Include’ a Family Member?

Your family members can be included, or benefit from your U-visa application at three different points. First, you can include family members at the time you file for your U-visa. Second, for any family members with whom you had an existing relationship at the time of filing, you can continue to file for them while your U-visa is pending, or after it has been approved. Third, you can include, or petition for a child, spouse, or parent (if the applicant is under 21) at the time you file for your green card, or after your green card has been granted.

Which Family Members Can I Include?

At the beginning of the case, when you file for your U-visa, you may include the following people:

The applicant is Under 21: May include spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18.

  • Parents and siblings under 18 continue to qualify for U-visa status, so long as the U-visa applicant was 21 at the time of filing. Thus, if the U-visa applicant turns 21 a week after filing, the parents and siblings will still be able to obtain a U-visa.

The applicant is Over 21: May include spouse and children under 21.

All relationships must exist at the time of filing. For example, if you file for your U-visa application and then marry a year later, you will have to wait until you apply for your lawful permanent residency to file for your spouse.

What Must I Show To Include a Family Member?

You can include family members at three points in the U-visa process, (1) when you apply for the U-visa, (2) while the U-visa is pending or after its been issued, or (3) at the time or after your lawful permanent residency is granted. When you include your family member will determine what you’ll need to show.

Applying for the U-Visa, While the U is Pending, or After the U has been Issued: If you include family members from the outset, at the time you apply for your U-visa, the process is relatively simple. You will file a petition to include them in the U-visa, and they will also submit waiver applications to waive any grounds of inadmissibility. They should also show that they are a good person and that they deserve to have any waivers granted.

Applying for Lawful Permanent Residency: Including a family member at the adjustment of status stage is slightly different. You may file for a spouse, child, or parent (if the applicant is under 21), who never held U-visa status, at the time you file for your lawful permanent residency; you may also file for them after you’ve submitted your application for residency. Your family member must show ‘extreme hardship’ if the green card application is not approved, to themselves, or the principal applicant.

This is useful particularly for U-visa applicants who were married after they filed their U-visa application. Although you cannot add on an ‘after-acquired’ spouse to your U-visa application, you can apply for them at the adjustment of status stage.

If you have a U-visa or would like information about applying for a U-visa and including family members in that application, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, are experienced in U-visa and To U-visa cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!

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