T visas for Victims of Trafficking
T visas are available to individuals who are victims of “a severe form of trafficking in persons.” All applicants are fingerprinted for criminal background checks and may be required to undergo an interview with a USCIS (formerly INS) examiner. Applicants are eligible for work permits upon approval. Individuals granted T visas may adjust to legal permanent resident status three years after they are granted the T visa. Derivative visas are available to spouses, children, or parents of the principal immigrant. There is an annual limit of 5,000 T-1 visas, applicable only to principals and not to derivatives. If no visa number is available at the time the application is approved, the applicant is put on a waiting list and given temporary immigration status until a number becomes available.
Eligibility Requirements for the T Visa:
- An individual must be the victim who has suffered from a “severe form of trafficking of persons,” which includes: trafficking to engage in a commercial sex act in which the act is induced by force, fraud or coercion or which is performed by a trafficked person who is younger than 18 years of age; or, recruiting a person through force, fraud or coercion “for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”
- The individual must be present in the United States on account of being a victim of trafficking.
- The individual would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if they were removed from the United States.
- The individual has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in a trafficking investigation or prosecution or is less than 18 years old. Immigrants who are 18 and older should also submit a law enforcement agency endorsement if possible. Child victims under 18 years of age do not have to show they assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers.