Indirect Victims and Bystanders to a Crime

Indirect Victims and Bystanders to a Crime

Were you traumatized or physically harmed as a result of witnessing a violent crime?
 Was your underage child the victim of a serious crime?
Were you asked to testify at court as to what you saw?


The U visa regulations provide relief to three categories of victims of crime: direct victims, indirect victims, and bystander victims. Indirect victims are defined as the family member of a person who died or who is incompetent or incapacitated. The most common example of a family member who could qualify as an indirect victim is the undocumented parent of a U.S. citizen minor child who has been a victim of a serious crime. The minor child is considered incompetent or incapacitated due to their age. While the U.S. citizen child does not need a U visa, the undocumented parent may be able to apply for a U visa as the indirect victim.  Similarly, if it’s physically impossible for the direct victim to benefit from the U visa, his spouse or children may. Immediate family members of murder victims, for example, could be considered indirect victims.

The bystander category covers immigrants who have witnessed a crime and suffered an unusually direct injury. This typically occurs when  someone witnesses a violent crime that results in severe trauma in the bystander.

These categories of applicants must also demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement. For this reason, the indirect and bystander victim categories can be extremely difficult U certification requests to obtain because often law enforcement does not recognize an indirect or bystander victim and may not be willing to sign a U certification. Having the right attorney in place to argue your eligibility as a bystander to the police or district attorney signing the certification can be extremely important to help law enforcement understand that signing the certification is legally justified and encourages more cooperation in the local community, the point of the U visa program.

Our firm understands how difficult it is to  open up in detail about what you witnessed and the lasting effects that remain with you. Know that our staff is professional, competent, and adheres to the highest standards of ethics and confidentiality. We will make the process as smooth as possible for you so that you do not have to relive the nightmare anymore and can move forward with the American dream.

Contact us today so we can analyze your chances of obtaining a U certification based on the crime you may have witnessed or a family member may have experienced by calling us at 213-627-8997 or clicking here to book a confidential Case Evaluation Appointment.