The T-visa is for immigrants who have been victims of severe human trafficking. Trafficking includes both sex and labor trafficking. Only 5,000 T-visas are issued each year.
Basic T-Visa Requirements
The requirements for the T-visa are found at INA §101(a)(15)(T). There are four basic requirements for the T-visa:
- The applicant is a victim of a “severe form” of trafficking in persons. Trafficking includes being coerced or tricked into sex trafficking, slavery or involuntary servitude;
- The applicant is physically present in the United States, including at a port of entry, on account of the trafficking;
- The applicant has complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking; and
- This requirement does not apply if the applicant is under 18 years of age; OR
- The applicant cannot cooperate with law enforcement because of physical or psychological trauma;
- The applicant would suffer extreme and usual hardship if removed from the United States.
Which Family Members Can I Include in my T-Visa Application?
If the applicant is over 21 years old, s/he can include their spouse and children under 21. If the applicant is under 21 years old, s/he can include their spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings who are under 18 years old.
T-Visa Application Process
You must be present in the United States to file for a T-visa. However, your derivative family members may be abroad.
Application for a T-Visa: Through the T-visa application, the applicant must show that they were the victim of a ‘severe form of trafficking in persons.’ Trafficking includes recruitment, harboring, transporting, or obtaining a person for labor or sex, through fraud, force, or coercion. The force or coercion can be for the purpose of subjecting the individual to slavery, sex, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or peonage.
Application for Waivers of Inadmissibility: In addition to providing evidence of the four basic T-visa requirements, an applicant must also show that they are admissible to the United States. T-visa holders are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Additionally, all other grounds of inadmissibility may be waived except security and terrorism grounds, international child abductors, and former citizens who gave up citizenship to avoid paying taxes. The waiver may be granted if it is in the national interest to do so, and the reason for the inadmissibility is related to the trafficking.
Work Permit: When you file your application for a T-visa, you may also file for work authorization. The work authorization should be granted for four years, or the duration of your T-visa.
Benefits of the T-Visa: T-visa holders are eligible for cash assistance, food stamps, job training, and federally funded student aid.
Lawful Permanent Residency
T-visas are issued for four years. After you have been physically present in the United States for three years, you can file for your lawful permanent residency. You must file for your lawful permanent residency before the T-visa expires. If you cannot file for your green card before the expiry of your T-visa, you should request an extension of your visa before it expires.
If you have been the victim of human trafficking and would like information about the T-visa, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, have experience with T-visa and U-visa applications. Please feel free to call us at (510) 491-0291 to see how we can help!