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U nonimmigrant status (the “U Visa”) is for non-citizens who are victims of serious crimes and can be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes.  The U visa first allows you to remain legally in the United States for four years. After three years in this status, you can apply for lawful permanent residency (a “green card”).  You need to file Form I-918 with supporting documents but will get the following benefits:

  1. Most importantly, the U Visa also is not limited to just you the applicant, it also extends U-visa status to certain of your dependents through derivative status;
  2. Gives you work authorization;
  3. You can then apply for social security number and a driver’s license; and
  4. You can apply for some public benefits.