ASYLUM | WAIVERS | TRAFFICKING & CRIME VICTIMS VISA
Asylum is for immigrants currently in the U.S. seeking protection because they have suffered persecution in their home country or fear that they will in the future if they return to their country of origin. If you have fears of returning to your country, it is very important to speak with an attorney who understands asylum law as soon as possible because the law around asylum can be confusing and you have to apply within a time frame. Not every kind of fear qualifies for asylum; the persecution must be due to someone’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or their membership in a particular social group such as persecution based on one's gender, sexual orientation, or family ties. The applicant must also demonstrate that the government in their country of origin is unwilling or unable to provide protection. Very importantly, asylum requires that the individuals apply within one year of entering the U.S. unless a good reason can be provided for filing late. Individuals granted asylum received work authorization and may apply for permanent residency one year after being granted asylum.
The T nonimmigrant visa allows victims of trafficking to remain in the United States to assist in the investigation or prosecution of human traffickers. Once a T nonimmigrant visa is granted, a victim can apply for permanent residence after three years and the visa holder is authorized to work in the U.S. Immediate family members are also eligible for derivative nonimmigrant status.
Crime Victims/ U Visa
The U nonimmigrant visa is for victims of certain serious crimes, such as domestic violence or felonious assault, who have cooperated with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who committed the crime. The visa leads to a pathway to eventually get a green card and immediate family members are also eligible for derivative status.
Waivers are applications which can sometimes be attached to other immigration applications for a person who is otherwise ineligible for a visa due to something called a "ground of inadmissibility" which could be, among others, an overstay, entering without a valid visa, or a prior removal order. These waivers can be used both for entering the U.S. as well as for those already in the U.S. seeking to change their status.