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Laws current as of August 15, 2022

How do I show that I am a “victim of a crime”? What is the difference between a direct and indirect victim?

The law enforcement certification should make it clear that you are the victim of a qualifying U visa crime. You should also discuss the details of the crime, if it’s not too traumatic, in your personal statement. Others who know about or witnessed the event may also write declarations describing details of the crime. Police reports, medical records, and other “systems” evidence is helpful, if you have it.

In most cases, the person who actually suffered the crime will be the U visa petitioner. These petitioners are called “direct” victims. However, USCIS also accepts petitions from people who aren’t the direct victims of the crime themselves, but who were victimized by crimes that occurred to their close relatives. These petitioners are called “indirect” victims. An indirect victim could be the close relative of a crime victim who is: (1) dead due to murder or manslaughter; or (2) incompetent or incapacitated and cannot provide information about the crime or be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.1

The “close relatives” who may qualify as indirect victims include:

  • the direct victim’s spouse;
  • the direct victim’s unmarried children under 21 years old; and
  • if the direct victim is under 21 years old, the direct victim’s parents and siblings under 18 years old.1

Although indirect victims are not required to show that they were the victim of the crime itself, they do need to show all of these remaining requirements:

  • they have information about that crime;
  • they were helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the criminal investigation or prosecution of that crime;
  • they suffered substantial physical or mental harm from the crime; and
  • none of the “grounds of inadmissibility” applies to them, or USCIS waives the grounds of inadmissibility.

In addition, an indirect victim will also need to submit the Form I-918, Supplement B (law enforcement certification) in his/her own name.

Note: The most common indirect victim is the undocumented parent of a child who was sexually abused, regardless of the child’s immigration status. See If my U.S. citizen child is a victim of a crime, can I (the undocumented parent) qualify for a U visa? for more information.

1 8 CFR § 214.14(a)(14)