U-Visa & T-Visa Information


U-Visas grant a temporary 4-year stay for qualified crime victim applicants. Applications for a U-Visa require a certification from a Certifying Official (Commonwealth's Attorney, Diana O'Connell, is a Certifying Official). Certification is one part of the application for the U-Visa. Applicants must submit additional documentation and proof in the full application for U-Visa.

U-Visa Requirements

  • Victim of qualifying criminal activity
  • Possesses information about the crime
  • Criminal activity occurred in the U.S. or violated U.S. law
  • Victim is helpful in prosecution
  • Victim suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result

Qualifying Criminal Activity

The following are considered qualifying criminal acts: abduction, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, felonious assault, female genital mutilation, rape, hostage, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, peonage, perjury, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, stalking, and torture.

U-Visa Application Process

The typical length of the process from filing to decision is 48+ months.

  • Victim requests completion of certification 
  • Provide all supporting information
  • Decision to certify within 120 days*
  • Certification (must be included in the initial   application for a U-Visa) 
  • Application & Supporting documentation
  • Decision by DHS

Once the initial application is processed, the victim is entered into a database and flagged as an applicants for a U-Visa. Immigration proceedings will not be initiated. 

Who Can Apply

  • Victims of qualifying criminal activity
  • Parents/guardians can apply as an "indirect victim" if:
    • The victim is a child under 21 years of age and/or
    • Is incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased due to murder or manslaughter
    • Bystanders victimization – very limited
    • For child victims a “next friend” can provide helpfulness


T-Visas grant qualified applicants of a severe form of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have been a victim of sever forms of trafficking, are in the U.S. on account of trafficking, who respond to reasonable requests for cooperation in an investigation, or would experience hardship upon the return to their home country.

Qualifying Severe Forms of Trafficking

  • Sex Trafficking: in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age, or
  • Labor: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery

T-Visa Application Process

The typical length of the process is 4 to 6 months.

  • Request for completion of certification
  • Continuous presence
  • Decision to certify within 120 days*
  • Certification (Endorsement)
  • Application and supporting documentation
  • Decision by DHS

*there is an expedited timeframe for certain exceptions.  Refer to Virginia Code Section 9.1501 (D) and 9.1501 (E) for details

For more information on U-Visas and T-Visas, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

For certification from a Certifying Official, please contact Diana O'Connell at (540) 672-4848 or email Diana O'Connell. 

National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP)
P.O. Box 5411
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 274-4457