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Green Card for a Victim of a Crime (U Nonimmigrant)

The U nonimmigrant status (also known as the U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. For more information on how to apply for a U nonimmigrant visa, see our Humanitarian webpages.

Those who have been granted U nonimmigrant status may file for a green card (permanent residence) using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after meeting certain requirements.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a green card as a U nonimmigrant, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least 3 years since the first date of admission as a U nonimmigrant and continue to hold that status at the time of application for adjustment of status.
  • You have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution
  • You are not inadmissible under section 212(a)(3)(E) of the Immigration Nationality Act
  • You establish your presence in the United States is justified on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity or is in the public interest

Application Process

To obtain a green card, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You also must concurrently file a Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, Form I-693. 

Note: Detailed instructions and requirements are included in special instructions on Form I-485, Supplement E

Information for Family Members

Family members of a U nonimmigrant can apply for a green card in two ways as explained below.

Derivative U Nonimmigrant Family Members

If you are a family member with derivative U nonimmigrant status and meet all of the criteria above, you may apply for a green card. 

  • Application Process for Derivative U Nonimmigrant Family Members
    To apply for a green card, qualifying family members with a derivative U visa must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Detailed instructions and requirements for filing for a green card are included in instructions on Form I-485, Supplement E (see the link to the right).

Qualifying Family Members Who Have Never Held Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can extend derivative benefits to spouses, children and parents (but not siblings) based upon their relationship to the principal U-1 nonimmigrant who is applying for a green card if:

  • The qualifying family member was never admitted to the United States in U nonimmigrant status
  • Either the family member or the U-1 principal applicant would suffer extreme hardship if the qualifying family member is not allowed to remain in or be admitted to the United States
  • Application Process for Qualifying Family Members Who Have Never Held Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status

If You Live Outside the United States

Qualifying family members may visit a U.S. Embassy or consulate to obtain their immigrant visas. A family member who is outside the United States does not need to file Form I-485.

If You Live Inside the United States

The U-1 status holder must file an immigrant petition on Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, at the same time or after the U-1 status holder files his or her Form I-485.

If Form I-929 is approved on their behalf, qualifying family members in the United States may file Form I-485 to apply for a green card. 

Note: You cannot file a Form I-485 on behalf of the family member concurrently with the I-929. We must approve the principal’s Form I-485 prior to the approval of Form I-929 for the family member. If the principal’s Form I-485 is denied, Form I-929 for the family member will automatically be denied.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/23/2011