T-visas are non immigrant (temporary) visas valid up to 4 years and are issued to victims of human trafficking who help law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking.
- T-Visa Holders are eligible for receiving work authorization and federal and state benefits and services (like Section 8 subsidized housing, Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance).
- T-Visa holders who qualify may also be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents (obtain a Green Card).
Congress created this status (commonly referred to as a T- visa) in October 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to compel individuals to provide labor or services, including commercial sex. Traffickers often take advantage of vulnerable individuals, including those lacking lawful immigration status.
T-visas offer protection to victims of human trafficking and strengthen the ability of police, district attorneys, drug enforcement agencies, FBI and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute human trafficking.
Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking” 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 forms do I file to qualify for a T-Visa?
A person may be eligible for T-Visa if she:
- Is a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, and
- Is living the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking, and
- Helps law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you are under the age of 18 or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma), and
- Demonstrates that she would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if she were removed from the US, and
- Is admissible to the US (If you are not admissible, you may be eligible for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility. You may apply for a waiver using Form I-192.
What forms and documents do I need to file for a T-Visa?
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status.
- Personal statement/declaration including describing how you became a victim of human trafficking and the suffering you endured, also explain which law enforcement agencies you assisted.
- For family members, including Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Immediate Family Member of T-1 Recipient
- Evidence of your assistance to the law enforcement agency to investigate or prosecute human trafficking may be Supplement B to Form I-914. However, you may send in trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, news articles, affidavits, or other relevant credible evidence to USCIS.
- Biographical documents (passport, birth certificate, marriage and divorce records, prior immigration correspondence).
- Evidence to show that you meet all other eligibility requirements.
- Form I-192 Waiver for people who are inadmissible.
- Form I-485 Application for a Green Card, and
- Form I-131 Application for Advance Parole for people who wish to travel outside of the US prior to their green card interview
- Form I-765 Application for Work Authorization. But, the work authorization will only be issued by USCIS after approval of the T-Visa.
Can I apply for a green card if I already have the T-Visa?
- T-Visas are issued for a period of 4 years.
- T-Visas may be extended in certain situations.
- T-visa holder may apply for a Green Card after 3 years of continuous presence in US with the T-visa or once the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking is complete, whichever occurs earlier.