Graham supports U Visa process for crime victims

Published 3/17/2023 10:44:44 AM

Polk County Attorney Kimberly Graham encourages noncitizen survivors of crime to cooperate with law enforcement, pledging that her office will support their efforts to obtain a U Visa if they qualify.

A U Visa provides protection to noncitizen victims of qualifying crimes, lawful status for up to four years, and a work permit. It also may provide lawful status to qualifying family members.

“This is part of our office’s victim-centered approach,” Graham said. “By supporting the U Visa process, we can create trust within our community and encourage immigrants and others to report serious and violent crimes.”

To qualify for a U Visa, noncitizens must have a law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or others with criminal investigative jurisdiction sign Form I-918B.

Graham said that assistant county attorneys will sign the I-918B form for victims of qualifying crimes, as long as her office can attest that a person:

  • was a victim of a qualifying crime, which includes domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, peonage, felonious assault, and many other serious crimes. See full list on this page: Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status | USCIS
  • has been helpful or are likely to be helpful in the detection, investigation, prosecution, conviction or sentencing of a qualifying crime.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will make the final decision on granting a U Visa. Signing the I-918B form does not grant anyone a U Visa or citizenship.

To aid victims, the Polk County Attorney’s Office has staffers who speak Spanish, Bosnian, and other languages and uses interpreter services.

Congress created the U Visa as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, recognizing that people without lawful immigration status can be vulnerable to victimization, and may be reluctant to help in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of criminal activity.

For more information on the U Visa, see this information on the USCIS website. Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status | USCIS .

Law enforcement agencies can learn more about their role at this USCIS site:
U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide (