In 2000, Congress created the T nonimmigrant visa to help combat human trafficking and provide some immigration relief to individuals who had been trafficked into the United States.
The T visa is a type of immigration relief allowing survivors of human trafficking and their family members to temporarily remain and work in the United States. The T visa can be a path to a green card down the road.
A T visa allows for four years of lawful immigration status and employment authorization. If the T visa holder meets eligibility, they may be able to apply for a green card. T visa holders may be eligible for federal refugee benefits, which include cash assistance, food stamps, and job training. A visa holder may be able to petition for a T visa for certain family members.
To establish eligibility for a T visa, an applicant must show that they are a survivor of human trafficking. Human trafficking can include sex trafficking or labor trafficking. They must establish that they are physically present in the United States or at a port of entry because of the trafficking. The applicant must have remained in the United States since the last instance of trafficking. If the applicant is over 18 years old, they must comply with a reasonable request for assistance in prosecuting the trafficking. The applicant must be at risk of experiencing extreme hardship if they leave the United States.
If the applicant is under 18, they don’t have to cooperate with the police. Applicants only have to comply with reasonable requests and do not have to comply if they have suffered psychological or physical trauma that prevents them from complying. T visas are more widely and more quickly available than other types of immigration relief. There is a cap of 5,000, but it has never been met. T visas have a generous waiver of criminal and immigration violations. T visa holders are eligible for federal benefits afforded refugees.
If you want to explore your options under the T visa program, you should consult with an immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you obtain your immigration goals. Contact us online or call us at 305-924-1133 to schedule a consultation.