The T Visa
The T Visa for victims of human trafficking was created in 2000 to assist in the elimination of international human trafficking. Recipients of T non-immigrant status, or T visas, receive a temporary four-year visa and work authorization. After the third year of T visa status, or after the certified completion of the criminal investigation and/or prosecution of the traffickers, recipients of T visas may apply for lawful permanent resident status. The T visa allows for waivers of past immigration violations and past criminal history if a sufficiently compelling case can be made for such a waiver. T visa petitioners may also petition for spouses, minor children, and certain other family members to receive the same status.
T Visa Eligibility
In order to be eligible to receive a T visa, the petitioner must show that:
- He or she is the victim of a particularly severe form of human trafficking. Please note that human smuggling — being smuggled into the United States unlawfully — does NOT qualify for a T visa. Eligibilty requires that the petitioner have been subjected to forced servitude, debt bondage, commercial sexual activity, or certain other crimes, by the traffickers.
- He or she has cooperated and/or assisted law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. Full prosecution or conviction of the traffickers is not required, but full cooperation of the victim is. Please note that fora T visa petition, a law enforcement certification is NOT required.
- He or she is admissible to the United States. If the petitioner is not fully admissible to the United States (e.g. in lawful immigration status and free of any criminal history), then a waiver of inadmissibility is required. In the T visa context, a waiver of inadmissibility is determined based on factors including family unity, public safety and security, and the national interest.
Like any other immigration benefit, T visa eligibility requires a complete analysis of facts and law. Consultation with an experienced immigration practitioner is recommended prior to making any application for T non immigrant status.
Contact Walker Gates Vela about a T Visa today
At Walker Gates Vela, we have helped dozens of clients achieve T visa status. If you have been forced to work or otherwise subjected to human trafficking, contact our Austin immigration law firm today by calling (512) 633-1785.