Congress passed The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, also known as VTVPA, in October of that same year. Its two main purposes are 1) to fight human trafficking and 2) to protect victims. The victims of human trafficking often lack opportunities, employment, and income in their home country.
With this knowledge, traffickers are able to trick their victims into accepting overseas employment which, upon arrival, may turn into slavery, involuntary servitude, or sex work. The T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa) grants past and current human trafficking victims protection and permission to stay in the United States while aiding in the investigation or prosecution of a human trafficking case.
T Visa Eligibility and Requirements
You may qualify for the T Visa if you meet certain requirements:
- You meet the legal definition of a past or current victim of trafficking.
- As a result of trafficking, you are at a port of entry to United States, or present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or the United States.
- During a human trafficking investigation or prosecution, you satisfy requests, within reason, from law enforcement officials. Minors (17 years or younger) and victims suffering from physical or psychological trauma are exempt.
- You can show that expulsion from the United States would cause you extraordinary, undue, and excessive harm.
- You are “admissible” to enter the United States legally. If not, you may use the Form I-192 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant) to apply for a waiver.
T Visa Applicants Must Have Been “Trafficked” Into the U.S.
The T Visa requires that you are in the United States as a consequence of being a victim of human trafficking. Unlike the U Visa where you may have traveled to the U.S. for another purpose and then became a human trafficking victim, the T visa demands that human trafficking be the only reason you are in the United States.
Therefore, to meet the requirements of the T Visa, in nearly all cases, you must solely be in the United States as a result of a human trafficker’s actions. You may have been tricked, kidnapped, coerced, or employed to travel to the United States.
Applying for a T Visa
The multiple step application process for T Visas is difficult, and the laws surrounding T Visas are complex. Therefore, you are advised to seek the guidance of a qualified immigration attorney rather than filing for a T Visa on your own. An outline of the application procedures for T Visas follows:
Applicants Must be “Admissible”
To qualify for a T Visa, you must be “admissible”. In other words, there are no legal reasons to keep you from entering the United States. If you have several criminal convictions, immigration violations, or specific medical conditions, you may be considered “inadmissible”. There also are other circumstances where you may be found “inadmissible”. To establish your admissibility, contact a qualified immigration lawyer at once. If you are “inadmissible”, you can still request a waiver with the Form I-192 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant).
Documents Required for a T Visa
You will need to submit the following legal forms and documentation in order to apply for a T Visa:
- Form I-914, Application for T Non-immigrant Status.
- 3 passport size photographs.
- A personal statement detailing how you were a trafficking victim (part of the Form I-914).
- Proof that you meet the conditions of eligibility.
Form I-914, Supplement B (Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons) is strong proof that you are a trafficking victim and have satisfied requests, within reason, from law enforcement officials. It is recommended that you to include the Form I-914, Supplement B (Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons) to demonstrate that you have the backing of law enforcement.
Filing for Family Members
If your application for a T visa is approved, qualifying members of your family may be eligible for a derivative T visa. You may petition on behalf of your qualifying family members only after your T Visa has been approved.
Which family members qualify for a derivative T visa depends on your age as the principal T Visa holder. You can apply for your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried minor siblings (17 years or younger) if you are under 21 years old. You can apply for your spouse and children if you are 21 years or older.
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