T Non-immigrant Visa (T-Visa) New York Immigration Attorney
T nonimmigrant status is a temporary immigration benefit that enables certain victims of a severe form of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. T nonimmigrant status is also available for certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims. T nonimmigrants are eligible for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. T nonimmigrants who qualify may also be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents (obtain a Green Card).
Congress created this status (commonly referred to as a T visa) in October 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to compel individuals to provide labor or services, including commercial sex. Traffickers often take advantage of vulnerable individuals, including those lacking lawful immigration status. T visas offer protection to victims and strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute human trafficking .
Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking” is:
- Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or
- Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status
You may be eligible for T nonimmigrant status if you:
- Are or were a victim of a severe form of human trafficking as defined above;
- Are in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;
- Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you are under the age of 18 or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma. In either case, you may not need to show that you complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement);
- Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States; and
- Are admissible to the United States (If you are not admissible, you may be eligible for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility. You may apply for a waiver using a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant).
Contributed by Svetlana Prizant, an Award Winning Queens Immigration Lawyer: