Last updated 11/25/2019
The T-visa gives immigration relief to people who have been victims of trafficking by allowing them to work and stay in the United States for a given period of time. Congress created the “T non-immigrant status" (T-visa) as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for a T-Visa?
If you have survived severe trafficking (includes both sex and labor trafficking), then you may qualify for the T-visa. There are, however, additional criteria you have to meet to qualify for this visa. These are:
- You must be present in the United States (or be at a port of entry because of the trafficking)
- You must be willing to assist law enforcement with the trafficking investigation unless you are underage. The government will not require you to cooperate if you are going through physical or psychological trauma that makes it impossible for you to assist law enforcement.
- You must show that you would face extreme hardship if you were forced to return to your home country.
How Do I Apply for a T- Visa?
The first thing you have to do when applying for a T-visa is to fill out the I-914 application for a T-non immigrant status form. You should also provide a written statement explaining what happened.
If you have cooperated with law enforcement, you should also include a copy that shows your exact involvement in the investigation. One way you can do that is by submitting the I-914, supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer.
Finally, you should provide any other documents that you think could strengthen your case.
How Much Do I Need to Pay for a T-Visa?
One of the many benefits of a T-visa is that the application is free. However, you will need to pay application fees for subsequent petitions like a work permit application for your family members or your application to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident.
If you don't have the money to pay for these applications, you may qualify for a fee waiver.
What Are the Benefits of a T-Visa?
A T-visa has a number of benefits. The most notable one is that it allows you to stay and work in the United States for four years. You can also apply to be a permanent resident if you meet certain criteria.
Once you get your T-visa, you can petition to bring your immediate family to stay with you. If you are 21 years old or younger, you are eligible to bring your parents, your spouse, your siblings who are under 18, and your unmarried children if they are under 21 years old. If you are over 21, you can only petition for your spouse and your unmarried children who are under 21 years old.
A T-visa is also quicker and more accessible as compared to other types of immigration relief since the annual cap, which is 5,000 visas, has never been met.
Speak to an Attorney Regarding Your T-Visa
If you or your loved one has been a victim of trafficking, you or they may be eligible for a T-visa. However, the application process and eligibility criteria can be a bit nuanced and complicated. Get a head start today and speak to an immigration attorney.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with visa procedures.