What is a T Visa?
A “T” Visa is a temporary immigration status for victims of human trafficking who assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crimes against them.
What is “trafficking” for the purposes of a T Visa?
The two most common forms of trafficking are sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
Sex trafficking is 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.
Labor trafficking is 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.
Who is eligible for a T Visa?
To obtain T Visa status, you must show the following:
- You are or were a victim of trafficking in persons as described above
- You are physically present in the U.S. due to trafficking
- You have assisted law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the trafficking
- You would suffer extreme hardship if you were removed from the U.S.
- You are admissible to the United States
Can family members be included in an application for T Visa?
You may apply for family members in your T Visa application. The following family members can be included in your application if they are in present danger of retaliation as a result of your escape from trafficking or your cooperation with law enforcement: your parents, your unmarried siblings under 18 years old, the children of any qualifying family members who have been granted derivative T Status.
Family members who are not in present danger of retaliation may still be included in the application in certain situations. For example, if you are under 21 years old, you may apply for your spouse, unmarried children under 21 years old, your parents, and your unmarried siblings under 18 years old. If you are over 21 years old, you may apply for your spouse and any children under 21 years old.
Does a T Visa grant the applicant employment authorization?
Yes, principal applicants will be granted employment authorization (also known as a work permit) at the same time their application is approved. Family members included in the application may also apply for employment authorization.
How long does a T Visa Nonimmigrant Status last?
T Visa status is generally granted for 4 years. However, it can be extended.
Does a T Visa open an avenue to becoming a legal permanent resident (obtaining a “green card”)?
Yes, T Nonimmigrants may be eligible to obtain their legal permanent residence or “green card” after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the U.S. or after continuous physical presence in the U.S. during the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking is complete, whichever happens first.
I would like more information regarding T Visas and whether I or my family member might qualify for a T Visa.
If you have additional questions regarding a T Visa, our attorneys are available to help. You can schedule a consultation by calling our office at (303) 974-7758.