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Trafficking (T Visa)

A “T” visa is a temporary immigration benefit that grants legal status in the U.S. to noncitizen victims of severe…

A “T” visa is a temporary immigration benefit that grants legal status in the U.S. to noncitizen victims of severe human trafficking, who assist law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. There are two main types of severe human trafficking – sex trafficking, which involves getting a person to perform commercial sex acts against their will, using fraud, force, or coercion; and labor trafficking, which is recruiting, harboring, transportation, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or services, through using force, fraud, or coercion.

To qualify for the T visa, the noncitizen victim must have been physically present in the U.S. due to human trafficking. The noncitizen victim must also be admissible to the U.S., or they will have to file Form I-129, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.

Benefits of a T visa

  • T visa holders can remain in the U.S. as long as they actively assist law enforcement in their work to bring the human trafficker(s) to justice
  • T visa holders are eligible for work permission in the U.S., and for certain federal and state benefits
  • T visa holders may also qualify for permanent residence if they remain physically present in the U.S. for 3 years after obtaining T visa status, or if they remain continuously in the U.S. until the completion of the investigation or prosecution.

Types of T visas

There are four types of T visas available to victims and their qualifying family members:

  • T-1 visa – for the principal victim of human trafficking
  • T-2 visa – for the spouse of T-1 visa holder
  • T-3 visa – for the children of T-1 visa holder
  • T-4 visa – for the parents of T-1 visa holder

How to apply for a T visa

To apply for a T visa, the noncitizen victim must file Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is crucial for the victim to also provide evidence of their eligibility for the visa, including proof of the trafficking and of their cooperation with law enforcement, and proof that their physical presence in the U.S. is due to human trafficking. A noncitizen victim can also apply for a T visa if they are outside of the U.S., by filing an application at the U.S. consulate of embassy in the country where they hold permanent legal status.

If you are an undocumented immigrant who is also the victim of severe human trafficking, you may be hesitant about coming forward. However, pursuing a T visa is a good way for you to seek legal status and assistance without fear of deportation you’re your application is granted, you may also be eligible for permanent resident status within 3 years. Remember that there are resources available to help.

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