Immigrant victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence face the same oppressive dynamics as other victims. However, there are also very distinct differences due to their non-citizen status.

Along with other common forms of isolation, immigrant victims with citizen partners may also face isolation by not being allowed to learn English, withholding or refusing to file paperwork or otherwise sabotaging the victims’ efforts to complete and submit critical paperwork in a timely fashion. Undocumented immigrants with violent partners who are undocumented face personal threats of deportation by their partner, some law enforcement and by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). With no work authorization they are unable to support themselves. Because of these realities, many undocumented immigrants are fearful to reach out to the police for fear of arrest and deportation. However, immigrant victims of domestic, sexual violence and human trafficking, documented and undocumented, may have immigration relief with the VAWA, U, and T Visas.

A VAWA Visa allows abused immigrant spouses or children of a U.S. Citizen and Legal Permanent Resident who are victims of domestic violence to self-petition for lawful status in the United States. This allows a victim to bypass the sponsorship element of immigration.

A U-Visa allows undocumented immigrant victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, and human trafficking victims to apply for work authorization and legal status. However, immigrant victims must report the crime and fully cooperate with law enforcement and prosecution. Additionally, the law enforcement agency or prosecution must supply and affidavit of cooperation to apply for a U-Visa.

A T-Visa allows undocumented immigrant victims of human trafficking, both sex and labor trafficking, cooperating with law enforcement and prosecution to petition for lawful status.

  • Abusive sexual conduct
  • Domestic violence
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Stalking
  • Trafficking

  • You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim.
  • You have information about the criminal activity.
  • You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law
    enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • The crime occurred in the United States.
  • You are admissible to the United States.

Applying for a U Visa:

  • Complete I-918 Petition for U Nonimmigrant Statutes Form –
    download here.

  • Complete I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification Form –download here. (This form must be signed by an authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency.)