• Immigration & Visa Information for Victims of Sexual & Interpersonal Violence

    International students and scholars with questions about their immigration and visa status are advised to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney. This web page is a resource to explain certain aspects of the law, but is not a replacement for legal advice.

    ZIP icon Immigration and Visa Information In Response To Sexual & Interpersonal Violence
    Note: This document has been translated to 120 languages.

  • I’ve been a victim of assault, does my immigration status affect my ability to access on-campus resources?

    No. Under the law, students and staff who are victims or survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence receive the same rights under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments (Title IX) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), regardless of immigration and visa status. Information about on-campus medical and counseling resources, as well as available accommodations, may be found at the Title IX Resources page. Information about the student conduct process may be found in the university's Code of Conduct. The College will not retaliate against you or treat you differently on the basis of reporting a crime.

    Can I press criminal charges as a documented or undocumented immigrant?

    Yes. Information about your state’s criminal definitions of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking may be found in the Annual Security Report (also known as the Clery Report). Specific questions about filing charges may be addressed to University Police Department.

    Are there specific visa and immigration statuses for victims of crimes?

    Yes. For victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, there may be other visa options, including U and T Visas. For specifics, talk to an immigration attorney.

    U Visa

    • For victims of substantial physical or mental abuse as the result of certain criminal activity, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, assault, or other related crimes
    • Victim/applicant must be a victim of qualifying criminal activity and likely to be helpful to the investigation and/or prosecution of that criminal activity
    • Generally valid for four years
    • For more information, consult an immigration attorney, and see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services information.

    T Visa

    • For victims of human trafficking
    • Must comply with reasonable requests from law enforcement for cooperation in investigation or prosecution of trafficking act(s) (unless unable to cooperate because of physical or psychological trauma), and must be able to demonstrate that the victim/applicant would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States
    • Generally valid for four years
    • For more information, consult an immigration attorney, and seethe U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services information.

    Is there an office on campus that can provide me additional information?

    The International Programs Office can provide useful information regarding immigration status. Note that for questions regarding changes to other visa statuses, or legal options that fall outside of standard F-1 and J-1 student visas, or employer-sponsored work visas, consult a qualified immigration attorney.

    F-1 and J-1 status students

    International students and scholars should consult the advice of an international Student Advisor in the International Programs Office to discuss the following:

    • Options for reduced course-load approval due to medical conditions certified by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist
    • Options for, and consequences to, withdrawing from your academic program
    • Information about returning to the academic program at a later date, if the student chooses to withdraw
    • Options and consequences for accompanying spouses
    • General information on options for changing visa status.
    • General information on U and T visas. (Referral to a qualified immigration attorney)
    • Referral to a qualified attorney

    H-1B, O-1, E-3, or TN employees

    • Options for a work leave of absence, and consequences to your immigration status
    • Options and consequences for accompanying spouses
    • General information on options for changing visa status. Referral to a qualified immigration attorney
    • General information on U and T visas. (Referral to a qualified immigration attorney)
    • Referral to a qualified immigration attorney

    Pending U.S. permanent residents (green card not yet approved)

    • Impact of leaving your employment on your pending employer-sponsored permanent resident application;
    • Referral to a qualified attorney

    What is an immigration lawyer and what do they do?

    Immigration lawyers are licensed attorneys who specialize in the field of immigration law. They function as the client’s advocate, and can represent them before immigration agencies, both in immigration court as well as in filing applications for immigration benefits. The lawyer can give general advice and can discuss immigration options. Like all lawyers, immigration lawyers are bound by professional ethical and legal requirements, and keep client discussions confidential.

    Where can I find a local immigration attorney?

    Please see the International Programs Office for additional support.

    Local Legal Assistance Listings

    Law Office of Randy Feldman

    Address: 500 Main St #510, Worcester, MA 01608
    Telephone: 508-792-1202

    Iandoli, Desai & Cronin P.C.

    Telephone: 617-482-1010
    Fax: 617-423-9070
    (By appointment only)

    Moreno Law Office, LLC

    Address: 390 Main St, Suite 718 Worcester, MA 01608
    Telephone: 508-798-5291
    MA Toll Free: 855-966-7366

    Law Office of Obadan Iziokhai

    Address: 390 Main St, Suite 805 Worcester, MA 01608
    Telephone: 508-793-9660

    Note: Worcester State University provides this list as a courtesy to our students. This is not an endorsement of any of the attorneys listed on this document. Students are under no obligation to select attorneys from this listing and may select any attorney of their choosing.

    Additional Resources

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), offers two sites to help individuals find free or low-cost legal representation:

    Link Icon USCIS: Find Help in your Community
    Link Icon USCIS: Find Legal Services

    The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) provides a listing of attorneys by state who provide immigration services either for free or for little cost:

    Link Icon BIA: List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offers an online Immigration Lawyer Referral Service that can help a student or scholar find an immigration lawyer:

    Link Icon AILA: Immigration Lawyer Referral Service

    The American Bar Association also provides information on finding legal services by state:

    Link Icon ABA: Find Legal Help

    What rights do undocumented students have?

    Undocumented students occupy a vulnerable position and might face barriers to reporting an incident for fear of repercussion. As an undocumented student, you have rights!

    • You are not to be threatened with deportation by your institution: this is considered a violation of both Title IX and the Clery Act as it is an active discouragement from reporting.
    • You can file a complaint anonymously: either with the federal government or with your institution. If you fear exposing your undocumented status you are under no obligation to include your name or identifying information in your complaint.
    • You are not be asked to disclose your immigration status to school administrators when reporting a sexual assault: this is considered intimidation and violates the Clery Act.
    • You do have the right to report the crime to authorities. In cases such as these, sexual assault survivors can apply for a U-Visa which protects survivors working with law enforcement from being deported. U-Visas have a nationwide cap and can be difficult to obtain, however, you should not feel that you are limited in reporting―if you feel strongly about reporting the assault to the authorities a U-Visa is an option.
    • If any of your rights are violated by your institution you have the right to file a federal complaint.

    This information comes from: End Rape on Campus (EROC) International & Undocumented Students

    Additional information detailing the rights of International and Undocumented students, as well as the intersections of immigration status and Title IX: Know Your IX


    Jennifer Quinn M.Ed., CHES, CTTS
    Director of Title IX
    Drug and Alcohol Education Prevention
    Student Center
    Office SC338

    On-Campus Emergencies

    Off-Campus Emergencies
    Worcester Police Department