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T Visa for Victims of Human Trafficking - Q & A

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

What is the T Visa?

The T visa was created to combat human trafficking and to provide immigration relief for those who are trafficked into U.S. T visas allow victims of human trafficking and their family members to remain and work temporarily in the U.S.

What are the benefits of the T visa?

  • Four years of lawful visa status;
  • Four years of employment authorization;
  • The opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency if the T visa holder meets certain criteria;
  • Federal refugee benefits, including cash assistance, food stamps, and job training;
  • Public benefits in some states; and
  • The ability to petition for T visas for certain family members in the United States or abroad.

Can derivative family members and dependants accompany T visa holders in the U.S.?

Yes, they can. For applicants over 21 years old, derivatives can include spouses and children. For applicants under 21 years of age, derivatives can include spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings less than 18 years old. For applicants of any age, if there is present danger to family members due to trafficking or the survivor's cooperation with law enforcement, derivatives can include parents and unmarried siblings under 18 years old, as well as adult or minor children of derivatives.

What are the eligibility requirements for T visa?

To be eligible for a T visa, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a victim of human trafficking into the U.S.;
  • You are physically present in the U.S. or at a US port of entry;
  • You must comply with any reasonable request from law enforcement agencies for assistance in investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. You are waived from this requirement if you are a child under the age of eighteen or you have suffered substantial physical or mental trauma. Obtaining certification from the law enforcement agencies will be helpful.
  • You must prove that you would suffer extreme hardship or severe harm if removed from the U.S. Evidence can include documents to prove that you will not be able to get medical assistance in your home country, your government in your home country will not provide good protection, or you would be likely to experience retaliation from the trafficker in your home country.
  • You must be admissible to the U.S. considering factors such as criminal history, health, immigration violations, etc. If you are inadmissible, you may need to apply for a waiver.

How to apply for a T visa?

You may submit Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status and Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons to demonstrate that you are a victim of trafficking and that you have complied with any reasonable request to assist law enforcement.

What will happen if the T visa is denied?

If the T visa application is denied, USCIS may put the applicant into immigration proceedings known as removal or deportation proceedings. The applicant needs to appear before an immigration judge and go through proceedings in immigration court.

How many T visas are issued every year?

A limited number of T visas can be issued every year. The number is limited to 5,000 visas per fiscal year. Qualifying family members of victims do not count towards this annual cap, but the T visa annual cap has never been reached.

Can T visa holders apply for a green card?

Yes, T visa holders can apply for lawful permanent residence to obtain a green card if the requirements are met. To qualify for permanent residence, the applicant must:

  • Be physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years in T nonimmigrant status, or a continuous period during the investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking, provided that the Attorney General has certified that the investigation or prosecution is complete, whichever time is less.
  • 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 you file this application.
  • Be admissible to the United States, or obtain a waiver of admissibility.

The family members of T visa holders may also be eligible for green cards at the same time.

The above is a general introduction to immigration policies, and should not be construed as individual legal advice. For specific legal questions, please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates. Attorney Xiaohui (Sharon) Yu is a graduate of New York University School of Law, one of the top five law schools in the US, and has practiced law at some of the top firms in the US, UK and China.

Tel: 301-838-8986, Fax: 202-595-1918; E-mail:, Address: 110 N. Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850. (All rights reserved.)

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