Humanitarian Visas

Humanitarian-Based Immigration Programs

Serving Clients in San Francisco & All Around the World

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a number of humanitarian programs and protection to assist individuals in need of shelter or aid from disasters, oppression, emergency medical issues and other urgent circumstances.

What is a Humanitarian Visa?

The United States offers many forms of relief for individuals who cannot return to their home countries or who have suffered from violence or crime. It can be difficult, however, to determine which of these programs is for you and what exactly it can do for you or your loved ones.

At Harrison Law Office, P.C., we take great pride in our ability to support immigrants who have endured some of life’s greatest hardships. We can help you explore any and all humanitarian-based immigration programs that may help you. We will take the time to understand your situation, listen to your needs, and develop a plan to assist you and your family as soon as possible.

U and T Visas

The U and T visa categories grant humanitarian-based visas to individuals who have suffered from human trafficking (T visa) or other serious crimes (U visa). To qualify, you will need to assist law enforcement by providing information about the criminal activity.

For either visa, you may be granted up to four years of status in the United States. In some cases, you may be able to extend your status or even adjust your status to lawful permanent residence.


The U.S. government grants asylum to individuals who suffered from persecution in their country of origin (or would suffer from persecution if they were forced to return).

This persecution must be based on your:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Nationality;
  • Membership in a social group; or
  • Political opinion

You must apply for asylum within a year of initially arriving in the United States. You can include your spouse and children on your application, but your children must be under 21 and unmarried to qualify.

Asylum allows you to obtain work authorization and, after a year of living in the U.S. with asylum status, apply for a green card. There is currently no fee to apply for asylum.

For consultation, call (415) 212-6817 or contact us online. We offer services in multiple languages for our non-English speaking clients, and we can provide a translator if necessary.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA grants temporary status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16. DACA allows recipients to obtain:

  • Work authorization
  • Social Security card
  • Potentially Medicare

DACA status lasts for two years, but it can be extended indefinitely in two-year increments. Currently, there is no option for DACA recipients to obtain a green card or citizenship (unless they qualify through other categories).

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Family-based green cards typically require a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to sponsor their foreign-citizen family member. However, the VAWA allows certain immigrants who have been abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member to apply for a green card without the abuser’s knowledge. Under the VAWA, individuals of any gender can self-petition for a green card.

You may qualify for a VAWA-based green card if you suffered from extreme cruelty or abuse committed by your:

  • U.S. citizen spouse/former spouse
  • U.S. citizen parent
  • U.S. citizen son or daughter
  • Lawful permanent resident spouse/former spouse
  • Lawful permanent resident parent

As stated above, you can complete the entire process without the abusive family member learning about your application.

If you are inadmissible for any reason (e.g. criminal history, unlawful presence, etc.), you will need to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. Our attorney can help determine whether you need a waiver and assist you with the entire application process.

Learn how you may benefit from a humanitarian-based immigration program by calling (415) 212-6817 or contacting us online today. Our San Francisco law firm is dedicated to helping you stay safe and secure in the United States.

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