U visas and T visas were both created in order to help victims of particular crimes to gain a visa status. Both U and T visas grant victims of certain serious crimes a legal status and both can involve cooperation with law enforcement. However, only specific crimes will allow victims to qualify. U visas and T visas have different requirements.

Understanding U Visas and T Visas

U and T visas both include human trafficking as a qualifying crime. Many people do not know the difference between the two visas and do not know which to apply for. If you believe you have been the victim of a serious crime such as human trafficking, it is important to know the difference because each application process is different.

Depending on your case, one of these visas may be a better option over the other. This article will explain some of the most important differences between U Visas and T Visas. To learn more about who is eligible for each type of visa, read our informational pages:

T Visa Status and Eligibility
U Visa Status and Eligibility

T Visas and Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a very serious crime and unfortunately it affects thousands of individuals in the U.S. Human trafficking laws were defined in 2000 by the UN in order to stop trafficking and punish individuals who committed human trafficking crimes. There are three important parts to a human trafficking case:

  1. How was the victim brought to the United States? This includes how the individual was recruited, transported, harbored and received.
  2. How was the victim controlled? This includes how the individual was managed in the U.S.. Examples include threats, coercion, abduction, deceit, fraud and other means.
  3. What was the goal? This refers to what the victim was forced to do. This involves serious traumas such as participating in sexual acts like pornography, prostitution or other forms of abuse such as forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage and other types of labor trafficking.

If you have been the victim of any of the situations described above, call Tucker, Nong and Associates immediately or, send us a message online to tell us about your case. Don’t be ashamed, we are prepared to do everything possible to ensure your rights are protected.

Common Examples of T Visa Cases

T visa cases do not always have to involve sexual abuse. Labor trafficking is a very common reason for someone to apply for a T visa. A common example is individuals who are brought to the U.S. to work as a nanny or fulfill other domestic positions. These individuals could be offered “papers” (legal documentation) that would allow them to reside in the U.S. under a legal status. However when the individual arrived in the U.S. they had their passport taken away and were forced to work for a very small amount of money. This situation would qualify as human trafficking. It is important to remember that this is only one of many possible examples of human trafficking.

T Visa Trafficking Requirement

In order to qualify for a T visa, an applicant must have been “trafficked” into the United States. This means that the individual is only present in the United States due to trafficking. This is different from a U Visa. For U visas, an individual could simply have visited the United States (for various reasons) and was then a victim of human trafficking or other specific qualifying crime.

An easy way to understand this is that with T visa cases, the individual must have traveled to the United States originally through recruitment, force, abduction or deception by a “perpetrator”. A perpetrator is a common term used to describe the individual who has committed the human trafficking crime.

Victims Do Not Have to Be “Aware” of Crime

To qualify for a T visa, it is not required for the individual to know or be aware of the human trafficking situation. This means that if an individual was persuaded to travel to the United States without knowing they were entering into a human trafficking situation, they would still qualify for a T visa. This is important because it protects individuals who were “caught off guard” or surprised by their circumstances upon arriving to the United States.

U Visa Applicants Are Required to Cooperate With Law Enforcement

A primary difference between U visas and T visas is that individuals who apply for a U visa are required to cooperate with law enforcement to a greater extent. The purpose of a U visa is to provide support to victims of certain criminal activities. However, U visa applicants should be aware that they will be expected to assist in the investigation of the criminal activity they were negatively affected by. In some cases T visa applicants would also have to cooperate with law enforcement but, it is less common when compared to U visa cases.

What If I Qualify for Both Types of Visas?

It is important to remember that a U visa or a T visa could be a very good option to victims of human trafficking or other criminal activities. In some cases, an individual may qualify for both types of visas. Even if an individual qualifies for both visas, one visa is typically a better option. Individuals who qualify for both types of visas should choose the visa that provides them with a higher chance of approval. A stronger case is more likely to result in approval of a visa status.

Why You Should Talk to An Immigration Lawyer

U visa and T visa cases can be very complicated. Because every U visa and T visa case is unique, it is essential to have an understanding of federal law to help ensure success. Additionally, each application process requires specific documents and evidence which must be presented in a predetermined format. Because these cases are complicated, it is not recommended that you try to apply for either a U visa or T visa without help from a legal professional.

Do You Need Help In Getting Your Green Card Or Visa in Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?

If you're trying to obtain a Green Card or Visa you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.

Yuvora Nong
Helping VA, MD & Washington D.C. clients with all of their immigration law legal needs since 1997.