The U-Visa, Part Two: Who are “Victims”?
Are you a “victim of crime” who can apply for a U-Visa? To be a victim, do you have to be the person against whom the crime was directly committed? Or can other people involved in the crime apply? The answer is that there are TWO types of people who qualify as victims of crime for the U-Visa.
#1: The DIRECT VICTIM. This is the person at which the crime was specifically directed and the person who suffered direct physical or mental harm. For example, a person who is assaulted, robbed, or raped is a direct victim. This person is the primary applicant for a U-Visa. A direct victim may also be someone who was not directly injured, but someone who was a bystander to the crime. For a bystander to qualify as a victim, the crime must have been exceptionally violent such as in the case of a murder.
#2: The INDIRECT VICTIM. These are family members of the direct victim in cases where the crime left the direct victim incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased. The perfect example of an indirect victim is the family member of a murdered person. Family members who qualify as indirect victims include the direct victim’s spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents (if the victim was under 21), and siblings under age 18 (if the victim was under 21). These indirect victims may be the primary applicant for a U-Visa IF they meet the other U-visa requirements: they must also show they suffered substantial physical or emotional injury as a result of the crime AND that they were helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
If you believe you were the direct or indirect victim of a crime, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Andrea to discuss your options!