New York T Visa Immigration Lawyer
Human trafficking is a hidden crime that goes mostly undetected, but it is estimated that 20 to 40 million people are held in modern slavery in the world today. It is also estimated that 50,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year from Mexico, the Philippines and other places around the world.
In the year 2000, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, also known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This law created a new visa, the T Visa, to provide a path to immigration into the U.S. for victims of human trafficking (sex trafficking, labor trafficking). Prizant Law can help you obtain a T visa for yourself and your family to find a safe haven in America and build a new life free from the threat of human traffickers. Learn more about T visas below, and call Prizant Law at 718-407-0871 or contact us online to speak with a compassionate and dedicated New York and U.S. immigration lawyer.
How Do I Get a T Visa?
A T visa is available to someone who was a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, which is defined in the law as one of the following:
- Trafficked for a commercial sex act where the victim was induced by force, fraud or coercion or was under 18 years old (sex trafficking)
- Trafficked for labor or services through force, fraud or coercion for involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery (labor trafficking)
In addition to being a victim of human trafficking as defined above, you must also demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States. Also, you must comply with any reasonable request from law enforcement to assist with an investigation or prosecution into trafficking. This requirement does not apply to victims under 18 or who are unable to assist due to physical or psychological trauma. Finally, you must be otherwise admissible to the United States or obtain a waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility.
How Does a T Visa Work?
The T visa is a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa. The visa lasts for up to four years, although it can be extended in some cases. While in the country on a T visa, you can obtain an employment authorization document (work permit) legally authorizing you to work in the U.S.. You can also apply for lawful permanent residence (Green Card) through an adjustment of status proceeding after three years in T status or after the completion of any investigation or prosecution that you assisted with.
Derivative T visas are also available for qualifying family members of human trafficking victims. In addition to acquiring a T visa for yourself, we can help get visas for your spouse, child, parent, or unmarried minor sibling if you are under 21, or your spouse or child if you are 21 or older. If your family members are in the present danger of retaliation based on your escape or history of human trafficking, you can get derivative visas for your parents, unmarried minor siblings, or the children of qualifying members, regardless of your age. Family members on a derivative T visa can also obtain an EAD (work permit) to live and work legally in the U.S..
Importantly, T visa status also allows you to receive government benefits and services without having to worry about being deported or ruled inadmissible as a “public charge.” Available benefits and services include:
- Housing assistance
- Food assistance (SNAP, WIC)
- Income assistance (TANF, SSI)
- Employment assistance
- English language training
- Health care services (Medicaid, CHIP)
- Mental health services
- Foster care
What if I’m Not Eligible for a T Visa?
Call Prizant Law for a discussion and determination of whether you may be eligible for a T visa. You might have other options as well. For instance, victims of human trafficking can apply for Continued Presence (CP), which allows persons who may be a potential witness in a sex trafficking or labor trafficking case to live and work in the U.S.. This program does not require cooperation in an investigation or prosecution. CP status is granted for one year and can be renewed for one-year intervals. You can also get your family to join you in the U.S..
Persons who are victims of other crimes besides human trafficking can apply for a U visa. The U visa lasts for four years like the T visa and includes an EAD work permit. Also, you can apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) through an adjustment of status after three years on a U visa.
Get Help Today. Call Prizant Law to Apply for a T Visa and Put Your Past Behind You.
Prizant Law can help you apply for a T Visa, including a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility if necessary, and help you get a green card through adjustment of status. We can also help you bring your family over with derivative visas. If ineligible, we’ll explore other options for you, such as CP or a U visa. Call 718-407-0871 today to speak with a dedicated and compassionate New York and U.S. immigration attorney.