Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking
T nonimmigrant status is a temporary immigration benefit that enables certain victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons to remain in the United States for an initial period of up to 4 years if they have complied with any reasonable request for assistance from law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking or qualify for an exemption or exception.
Differences Between T Visa and U Visa
The U nonimmigrant status visa is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
The T Visa is solely for victims of human trafficking seeking refuge.
What Qualifies as Human Trafficking for a T Visa
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.
What Are the Benefits of the T Visa?
T Visas provide extremely valuable benefits to certain trafficking victims and accompanying immediate family members. T status admits T Visa holders to the United States for a duration of four years. While on T status, status-holders are authorized to work in the United States.
After three years, or after the Attorney General certifies that the trafficking investigation or prosecution is complete (whichever comes first), T Visa beneficiaries are eligible to apply for adjustment of status from nonimmigrant T status to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status
You may be eligible for T nonimmigrant status if you are/were a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, are physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking, have complied with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you were 18 at the time at least one of the acts of trafficking occurred or are unable to cooperate due to trauma), demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship if you were removed from the United States, and are admissible to the United States (if you are not admissible, you may be eligible for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility using a Form I-192).
Applying for T Nonimmigrant Status
To apply for T nonimmigrant status, you must submit:
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, including a personal statement describing the trafficking you are or were subjected to;
- Evidence to establish that you complied with any reasonable request for assistance from law enforcement, or that you qualify for an exception or exemption. You may submit Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons to demonstrate that you are a victim of trafficking and that you have complied with any reasonable request to assist law enforcement. However, you may also choose to submit other evidence instead of or in addition to the Form I-914, Supplement B, such as records of your communication with law enforcement, trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, news articles, affidavits, or other relevant credible evidence;
- Evidence to show that you meet all other eligibility requirements;
- Evidence to demonstrate that you are admissible, or Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant seeking a waiver of applicable inadmissibility grounds, if you are inadmissible.
Eligibility for Qualifying Family Members
Certain qualifying family members may be eligible for T nonimmigrant status. Regardless of your age, you may apply for the following family members if they are in present danger of retaliation as a result of your escape from trafficking or cooperation with law enforcement:
- Your parents;
- Your unmarried siblings under 18 years of age; and
- The children of any age or marital status of your qualifying family members who have been granted derivative T nonimmigrant status.
- Principal applicants: If you are granted T nonimmigrant status, USCIS will provide you with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) at the same time your Form I-914 application is approved. The information from your Form I-914 is used to generate the EAD, which is also known as a work permit. You do not need to file Form I-765 with the application for T nonimmigrant status.
- Qualifying family members: If you are included as a qualifying family member on Form I-914, Supplement A, and you are living in the United States, you must submit Form I-765 if you want to apply for an EAD. You may file Form I-765 together with Form I-914, Supplement A, or at a later time. If you live outside the United States, you are not eligible to receive an EAD until you are lawfully admitted to the United States. Do not file Form I-765 if you are living outside the United States.
After You Obtain T Nonimmigrant Status
T nonimmigrant status is generally granted for 4 years. In certain situations, you may be able to extend your T nonimmigrant status by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Additionally, T nonimmigrants may be eligible for lawful permanent residence (a Green Card) after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the United States since they were first lawfully admitted as T nonimmigrants, or after continuous physical presence in the United States during the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking which is complete, whichever occurs earlier.
Eligibility for Services and Benefits
If you have T nonimmigrant status, you are eligible for a number of federally funded benefits and services. If you do not yet have T nonimmigrant status but are a victim of trafficking, you may also be eligible for these benefits and services if:
- The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) has granted you Continued Presence; or
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided you with a letter of certification or eligibility.
Number of T Visas Issued by Year
A maximum of 5,000 T Visas can be issued every year.
What Are the T Visa Application Fees?
There is no fee to file Form I-914 and Form I-914A. Therefore, you do not need to submit a fee waiver request for either form.
How Long Does it Take to Get a T Visa?
The processing time for the T visa varies. USCIS does not give an estimate or a time that applicants will have to wait for their visa to be processed after applying. This means that the processing time varies from person to person and is done based on the evidence that they give.