If you have been the victim of a crime, or are not sure, please contact the New York City Police Department. Police officers do not ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other people who ask for help. For emergencies, call 911. For non-emergencies, call 311 and ask to connect with your local precinct.
Free immigration legal help is available for immigrant New Yorkers, including victims of crime. We recommend speaking to an immigration lawyer to see if you may be eligible for certain forms of immigration relief for crime victims. Call ActionNYC for free, safe immigration legal help at 800-354-0365.
The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections are available to all individuals regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. VAWA permits immigrant survivors of domestic violence to file for an immigrant visa petition on their own, without the knowledge of their U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser.
Immigrant victims of certain serious crimes, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, may be able to get special visas, specifically a U visa or a T visa. The U visa (for victims of serious crimes) and T visa (for victims of human trafficking) protect victims who help law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of those crimes. U and T visas provide the following benefits:
In order to apply for a U visa, you must get a signed certification form from a law enforcement agency, and then submit an application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The certification form confirms the following:
When applying for a T visa, you can submit, and may be asked by federal immigration authorities to submit, a signed declaration form from a law enforcement agency. The declaration form confirms the following:
New York City district attorneys, the New York City Police Department, and other City agencies accept requests for U visa certifications and T visa declarations.
Find out how to request a signed certification and/or declaration from a particular agency
In February 2021, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) hosted a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) event walking through the legal requirements and process to obtain a U Visa certification or a T Visa declaration from NYC agencies. This CLE included panelists from agencies that currently provide certifications and declarations for U and T Visas as well as an immigration law expert from NYLAG.
Beware of immigration service providers who take advantage of their customers. Get help only from a trusted, licensed attorney or accredited representative. For questions about this, call the New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 between 9 AM - 8 PM on Monday through Friday. For more information, please visit our page on avoiding fraud.