Chapter 2 - Eligibility Requirements for U Nonimmigrant Status

A. Principal Petitioners

To be eligible for U nonimmigrant status, principal petitioners must establish that they meet the following eligibility requirements by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • They are or were the victim of a qualifying criminal activity or qualifying crime (QCA) that violated U.S. law or occurred in the United States (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the United States;

  • They possess information concerning the QCA;

  • They have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful to a federal, state, tribal, or local law enforcement official, prosecutor, judge, or other authority investigating or prosecuting the QCA;

  • They have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of a QCA;[1] and

  • They are admissible or merit a discretionary waiver of any applicable grounds of inadmissibility.[2]

B. Qualifying Family Members

Certain family members of the principal petitioner may be eligible for derivative U nonimmigrant status, depending on the age of the principal petitioner at the time of filing the principal petition for U nonimmigrant status.[3] The principal petitioner must be granted U-1 nonimmigrant status in order for any qualifying family member to be granted derivative U nonimmigrant status.

Overview of Qualifying Family Members


Qualifying Family Member

A principal petitioner 21 years of age or older at the time of filing the petition may file for:

  • Spouse (U-2)

  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 (U-3)

A principal petitioner under the age of 21 years old at the time of filing the petition may file for:

  • Spouse (U-2)

  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 (U-3)

  • Parents (U-4)

  • Unmarried siblings under the age of 18 (U-5)

Principal petitioners may choose to file for qualifying family members:

  • At the time of submitting the principal petition;

  • After the principal petition has been filed and remains pending; or

  • After the principal petition has been approved for U nonimmigrant status.

When determining whether a family member is eligible for U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant status, officers must confirm that:

  • The noncitizen for whom the Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient (Form I-918, Supplement A) was filed has a qualifying family relationship with the principal petitioner; and

  • The qualifying family member is admissible to the United States.

For the noncitizen to establish eligibility as a qualifying family member, the relationship between the principal petitioner and the family member must exist:

The eligibility requirements that apply to principal petitioners do not apply to qualifying family members. Qualifying family members do not need to demonstrate helpfulness in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime, or that they have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of a qualifying crime.


[^ 1] See INA 101(a)(15)(U).

[^ 2] See INA 212(d)(14).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 214.14(f)(1).

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 214.14(f)(4) as limited by Medina Tovar v. Zuchowski, 982 F.3d 631 (9th Cir. 2020) (en banc) (holding invalid the regulatory requirement that a spousal relationship exist at the time the Form I-918 is filed in order for the spouse to be eligible for classification as a U-2 nonimmigrant). As a matter of policy, USCIS applies the Medina Tovar decision nationwide.

Current as of January 26, 2022