T Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the T nonimmigrant status (T visa) was established to allow victims of severe forms of trafficking to become temporary residents of the United States. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life. Many trafficking victims are forced to work in the sex trade, but trafficking also takes place in labor situations, such as domestic service, factories, migrant agricultural work, and forced marriages. Traffickers often take advantage of poor, unemployed individuals who lack access to social services. Severe forms of trafficking include:
- Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under 18; or
- The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Who is eligible for a T Visa?
- You must be a victim of severe forms of trafficking (defined above);
- You must be physically present in the United States or at a port of entry because of the trafficking;
- You have complied with any reasonable request for assistance in investigating or prosecuting trafficking (or you are under the age of 18, or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma); and
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon if you were to be removed from the United States.
What are the benefits of a T visa?
Approved T visa applicants will receive 4 years of temporary legal status and permission to work and may apply for their green cards after three years. In appropriate circumstances, family members may also be eligible for the T visa.