A Brief Analysis of the T Visa, and the Legalization Process
What is a T Visa and What are the Eligibility Requirements to Obtain It?
For many years, individuals from all over the world are brought to the U.S. against their own will or with false promises for a better future. Once in the U.S. they can often find themselves facing slavery-like conditions. For these types of victims, there is thankfully a type of relief. The T visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant means that a foreigner can remain in the country, only temporarily.
This type of visa, specifically the T visa, allows victims of trafficking or human trafficking to remain, live and work in the United States, for and up to, a maximum of four years. This is, if they have collaborated with law enforcement agencies in an investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking or human trafficking.
To the non-immigrant T status, some relatives of the victims of human trafficking can also be eligible. Non-immigrants of T status can obtain an employment authorization and apply for certain federal and state benefits and services. This status, commonly known as the T visa, was created by the United States Congress, in October of 2000 as part of the Law on the Protection of Victims of Persons and Violence.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking is a form of modern slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion, to force people to provide them with jobs or services, including commercial sex. The T visa offers protection to victims, while favoring and strengthening law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute such crimes.
In what cases is it considered under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking’’?
- Sexual trafficking: obtaining or forcing persons under 18 to perform sexual acts for commercial purposes, through recruitment, transportation, shelter or retention.
- Trafficking in labor: obtain or force people to perform work or services or other forms of servitude due to debt or slavery.
In what cases might you be eligible to obtain the T Visa?
- If you have been, or are a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, as defined above.
- If you are in the United States, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands Community, or at a port of entry for being a victim of human trafficking.
- If you comply with the requests required by law enforcement agencies, in the investigation or prosecution of acts of human trafficking – unless you are under 18 years of age, or unable to cooperate for any psychological or physical trauma. It is in any of these cases, you will not have to prove that you complied with reasonable requests for help from law enforcement agencies.
- If you show that you would face extreme difficulties related to extraordinary and serious personal injury, if you were to leave the United States, and then …
- You are eligible to be admitted to the United States. (In case you are not admitted as eligible, you can request exemption from certain grounds of inadmissibility. You can request an exemption with an I-192 Advance Permit Application Form to Enter as a Non-immigrant).
What is the eligibility of qualified family members to obtain the T Visa?
Regardless of your age, some family members may be eligible. If you are at risk of reprisals that may be taken for having escaped human trafficking, or for your cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
What relatives of the victims of human trafficking may be eligible?
- Un-married siblings under 18 years of age, and children of any age or marital status of their eligible family members who have obtained non-immigrant T status.
If your family members are not at risk of retaliation, then follow the instructions in the table you will find on the USCIS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services page.
To submit an application on behalf of an eligible relative, you must submit a Form I-914, Supplement A, Immediate Family Application for a T-1 Visa Receiver. You can submit that form either at the same time you file your Form I-914, or while your application is pending, or while in non-immigrant T status.
Do you believe you are a victim of trafficking?
Do not risk your future by submitting an application on your own. If you think you are a victim of trafficking or human trafficking, contact us at (202) 918-1799 or request a FREE Consultation today with one of our expert immigration attorneys. We will be happy to advise you about all of the options you are eligible to pursue.