Victims of trafficking can benefit from a T Visa, specifically aimed to help and protect survivors of sex trafficking or labor. If trafficking brought you to the United States under irregular entry by smugglers, or you were a victim of trafficking after arriving in the country, the T Visa is an ideal solution.
The T nonimmigrant status was established in the year 2000 to help combat human trafficking. Its purpose is to provide immigration relief to victims of this crime. A T Visa allows a survivor to work temporarily in the United States and provides a path to a green card.
T Visas may be more quickly obtained compared to other humanitarian relief options such as a U Visa or a VAWA self petition. Just like any visa for crime victims, the T-nonimmigrant status is available for everyone, offering protection and temporary residency for anyone who meets the requirements, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Below, you’ll find some information that will help you to have a broader understanding of this nonimmigrant visa, its benefits, and how to compare it with other immigration avenues.
A T Visa will grant its beneficiaries four years of lawful immigration status and employment authorization. If the T Visa holder meets the requirements, they may apply for a Green Card after being under the T Nonimmigrant Status for three years.
A T Visa holder may be eligible for federal refugee benefits, which include cash assistance, food stamps, and job training. Also, with a T Visa, the holder may apply for family reunification for certain qualifying family members, thus extending the benefit of their T Visa to their immediate family members.
To be eligible for a T nonimmigrant status, 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 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.
To apply for a T nonimmigrant status, you must present the following documents:
The T Visa is not without its challenges. We highly recommend applying for it alongside an immigration attorney that will allow you to compile a detailed application with the required documents to validate your case. Check the USCIS T nonimmigrant status guideline for more information.
There is no fee to file the Application for T Nonimmigrant Status forms. However, you may be required to pay the fees for other forms in connection with your application, such as:
After you have submitted your application, the processing time can take 18 to 29 months. However, in some cases, the resolution may come in less time.
Yes, it does. You will be able to petition for certain family members if they are in present danger as a result of your escape from trafficking or cooperation with law enforcement.
Family members such as parents, unmarried siblings under 18 years of age, and children of any age or marital status.
If your family members are not affected by your trafficking situation, you may apply for them under the following conditions:
The T visa is a temporary visa, meaning it is only valid for a certain period. However, it can be extended in certain circumstances, such as if the individual is still at risk of harm or if they are needed to assist in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers.
The T status grants residency for four years. After that time, a holder may be eligible to apply for a green card and become a permanent resident of the United States, and then be eligible for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
While both visas are intended to provide temporary residency and protection to victims of serious crimes, the difference between U and T Visas relies on the type of aggravation.
For example, the U nonimmigrant status is available to victims of a broader range of crimes, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens, and more, while Visa T is specifically for victims of human trafficking.
On the other hand, U visa applicants must provide a police report of the crime. Those applying for the T visa will only have to provide credible testimony to be considered for possible approval.
It is essential that you tell your whole story when you speak to an attorney. Many victims of trafficking may not be aware of the program or may be reluctant to come forward and seek help.
This status has been created for victims of trafficking, and we are dedicated to helping identify trafficking victims and assist them reaching their legal status and residency in the United States.
One of the key benefits of the T visa is that it allows holders to seek medical care, counseling, and other support services without fear of deportation. It also allows them to work legally in the United States, which can be crucial in helping them to establish a new life and gain financial independence.
While there is still much work to be done to combat this global issue, the T visa serves as a reminder that progress is possible, and that with continued commitment and effort, we can work together to create a safer and more just world for all.
If you want to explore your options under the T Visa program, you should consult with an immigration attorney.