T-visas do not grant an individual immigrant status. Instead, it bestows a temporary immigration status on certain victims of cases of severe human trafficking. Due to it, the person granted the visa may remain in the US for a period of 4 years. Of course, stipulations apply in their case, which we will discuss below. At times, even the family members of that person may receive the T nonimmigrant status.
If you satisfy the conditions below, you should consider applying for a T-visa because it also comes with certain benefits. For one, on qualifying as a T nonimmigrant, you can work and earn a living. Moreover, you may also adjust your status if you desire to obtain a Green Card.
You Must Be a Victim of Human Trafficking
Federal law deems severe human trafficking to be either due to sex or labor reasons. For the former, a person who is recruited for the purpose of a commercial sex act – whether by force, coercion, or because they are under 18 – is a victim of sex trafficking. The latter refers to similar treatment, i.e., in the form of coercion, force, or deception. But the person is enslaved or under debt bondage.
You Must Have Been Trafficked Into the US
Victims that satisfy either conditions mentioned above – sex or labor trafficking — may qualify for a T visa only if they are in the US. This is one of the differences between other types of visas and T-visa.
For T Visa Eligibility, an individual must have been forcefully brought to the country or deceived by the perpetrator. It follows that they wouldn’t even be present in the US if it were not for the trafficking incident. Finally, it is not necessary to prove that the trafficking victim knew about the intentions of the perpetrator. They may have been deceived or knew but were unable to resist.
You Must Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies
In the case of another type of visa or U visa, the applicant sees more involvement of law enforcement. However, for T visas, they usually do not have to cooperate to such a great extent.
Show That Denial Would Result in Extreme Hardship
A requirement that all T-visa applicants must meet is to show how crucial staying in the US is for their continued survival. While they do not need to document either physical or mental abuse, they must demonstrate they will go through extreme hardship that may cause them harm. However, doing so may help build their case.
It can be tricky to prove the hardship they may face. But it can be done if the individual has developed medical needs – whether due to trafficking or not. Their needs cannot be met in their homeland due to a lack of medical or psychological services. Or, a person can prove that neither does their government guarantee them protection, nor will it punish the offenders responsible.
Alternatively, someone who can show how they would be stigmatized due to sex trafficking in their country, may also succeed. For instance, further victimization, inability to get a job, or get married, can help a T-visa applicant prove their need.
You Must be Admissible in the US
If that isn’t the case, the applicant can apply for a waiver and get permission based on certain grounds of inadmissibility.
How to Apply for a T-Visa
You will only be eligible for a T Visa Application if you are inside the US. Hence, you won’t need to visit a US Embassy to apply. You may go to the service center in your state or directly to the USCIS.
You will be required to submit the following documentation for the procedure to begin:
- The Form I-914, which is your Application for T Nonimmigrant Status
- Supplement B of the same form, which includes the certification from a law enforcement agency. It proves that you were harmed by human trafficking
- 3 passport-sized photographs
There is no fee when you apply for T-visa submission, but you will have to pay for filing the forms. If you cannot afford to do that, file this Form I-912 waiver.
The T Visa Processing Time varies, and you’ll have to wait for the USCIS to process your visa after applying. The evidence that an applicant submits will influence how long it may take.
How Long is a T-Visa Valid for?
Your T-visa will be valid for 4 years, during which you may get licensed to drive, open a bank account, get a job, and enter academic or vocational studies. After the 4-year-limit, you are liable to return to your country. Although, some people choose to file Form I-539 to extend/change their status. If you can supply a reason for your extended stay, the USCIS may grant it.
Can T-Visa Holders Get a Green Card?
T Visa Adjustment Of Status means applying for permanent residence, instead of just an extension with the Form I-485. On approval, you may get a Green Card, provided you were:
- In the US for 3 years or more on a T visa
- A part of the investigation of the human trafficking crime against you
- Cleared with a good character assessment
- In the same situation, regarding extreme hardship should you return to your homeland
- Still admissible in the US
While waiting for USCIS to respond, you may continue working or with your studies.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
T-visa cases are highly complicated due to their uniqueness. Therefore, you need an expert on federal law to help ensure your case is heard. Additionally, you must submit specific documents and evidence when applying for a T-visa. They must also be in a predetermined format. We recommend that you do that with the aid of a legal professional like Eric Price. With more than 1,000 immigration cases under his belt, Eric possesses the expertise to guide you. He is familiar with the processes of both the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Eric also testifies as an expert immigration law witness.