T Visa: Victims of Human Trafficking
The T visa is a special type of nonimmigrant visa that is available to victims of human trafficking who are in the United States. It allows victims to remain in the U.S. and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.
Who is eligible for a T visa?
To be eligible for a T visa, applicants must demonstrate that they have been a victim of a “severe form of trafficking in persons.” Applicants should be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking and have complied with any reasonable request from law enforcement for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they would suffer unusual hardship and severe harm if you were removed from the United States.
What is the definition of “severe form of trafficking in persons”?
Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking in persons” is:
Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or
Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Would an applicant’s family members be included in the T visa application?
T visas allow certain family members of victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States. Qualifying family members of T visa holders may be eligible for derivative status. The qualifying family members of T visa applicants may accompany the applicant or join the applicant at a later date.
If the applicant is under 21 years old, then the qualifying family members include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, parents, and unmarried siblings who are under 18 years old. If the applicant is 21 years old or older, the qualifying family members include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age. The Qualifying family members must demonstrate that they are related to the principal T visa holder.
What benefit can you get if T visa is granted?
T visa holders are also eligible for certain benefits, temporary legal status and work authorization for up to four years, and access to certain benefits such as health care, counseling, job training, etc.
What would be the next step after you obtain T visa Status?
If you are a nonimmigrant who has been granted T visa status, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence (a green card) in the United States. To do so, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The requirements include valid T visa status at the time of applying for a Green Card, maintaining continuous physical presence in the United States for either, and showing good moral character, etc.
Knowing the steps involved in obtaining the T visa and the green card process is essential for the successful application. At Tanner Law Offices, LLC, you will find us compassionate and knowledgeable about the T visa process. Please contact our office at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.