Whether You Qualify for a T Visa & How to Obtain Such a Visa
Qualifying and obtaining a T-Visa is a complex and fact specific process and the information below is a general overview. Please consult with an attorney at Theta Law Firm with your specific facts. An attorney is vital to help guide you and your family through the process of obtaining a T-Visa and eventually permanent residency.
Do you qualify for a T-Visa?
The T-Visa is the product of Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and it has been set up to provide immigration relief to foreign nationals that have been trafficked into the United States. The T-Visa grants non-immigrant status for such an individual and can potentially open the door for the individual to obtain a green card and receive permanent residency. An attorney at Theta Law Firm can help guide you as to whether or not you and your family qualify for the T-Visa and work with all corresponding agencies and you to make sure all the necessary paperwork is filled out and timely filed.
To be eligible for a T-Visa you must meet the following requirements:
- You are or were a victim of a severe form of trafficking, as defined by law;
- You are in the United States due to trafficking;
- You comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (or you are under the age of 18, or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma);
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States; and
- You yourself have not committed a severe form of trafficking offense
- You are admissible to the United States (if not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant, but there may be additional fees associated with this waiver)
1. sex trafficking (where a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or where the person induced to perform such an act is not yet eighteen years old); or
2. labor trafficking (where a person is recruited, harbored, transported, or obtained for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose to subject that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery).
If you meet the above eligibility requirements for a T-Visa there are several steps in order to file for and obtain T-Visa status:
A. The foreign national victim must fully complete and file U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status. This shall include evidence that each requirement above is fulfilled by submitting:
- Either an endorsement from a law enforcement agency on Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, or sufficient credible secondary evidence, describing efforts to cooperate with law enforcement, as well as the nature and scope of any force, fraud, or coercion used against the individual.
- Proof that the individual is in the United States as a result of trafficking, included in a personal statement that must be drafted.
- Proof that the individual assisted or tried to assist a law enforcement agency with the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking perpetrators through Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victims of Trafficking in Persons OR through evidence that the person tried to assist with appropriate affidavits and other modes of proof OR evidence that this provision should be waived due to physical or psychological trauma.
- Reports, affidavits, and other evidence to show that the individual would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States and returned to the 'home' country.
C. Request for a fee waiver using Form I-912 for all forms filed except the I-914 that has no fee associated with it.
It is also possible to obtain T-Visa status for family members of the person that qualifies for a T-Visa.
- If the person that qualifies for T-Visa status is under twenty-one years of age, they may also petition to obtain T-Visa status for a spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of eighteen.
- If the person that qualifies for T-Visa status is twenty-one years of age or older, they may petition to obtain T-Visa status for a spouse or their children.
Obtaining Employment with T-Visa Status
The Employment Authorization Document issued to the T-Visa recipient should be for the full four year period which will allow the visa holder to work so long as the Visa application is approved. No additional documentation is necessary on behalf of the primary T-Visa applicant in order to be eligible for work.
Family members of T-Visa status holders can also obtain work authorization. Form I-765 should be submitted with the I-914 Supplement A.
Applying For Permanent Residency
A T-Visa is valid for four years. After three years of continuous presence in the United States, a T-Visa holder is allowed to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card. The individual must apply for permanent residency by submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
You must meet the following requirement when filing for permanent residency:
- Be physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years in T nonimmigrant status;
- Maintain good moral character during your stay in the United States;
- Have complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking;
- Demonstrate extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States or have been under 18 years of age at the time of the trafficking victimization; and
- Be admissible to the United States, or obtain a waiver of admissibility.
A family member of a T-Visa holder that has received T-Visa status themselves based on the principal family member can apply for legal residency as long as the following requirements are met:
- You are a family member of a T-Visa principal applicant
- You have been given valid T nonimmigrant status based on the principal applicant
- The principal applicant filed or is filing at the same time as you Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- The principal T-Visa holder meets the requirements necessary to become a permanent resident
- You are admissible to the United States as a permanent resident.
More information can also be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/tools/humanitarian-benefits-based-resources/resources-victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes
 Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant, may be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-192.pdf.
 8 CFR § 214.11 (f)(1).
 8 CFR § 214.11 (f)(3).
 Form I-912, Request for a fee waiver may be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-912.pdf.
 Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, may be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-485.pdf.
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