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The Process for Obtaining a T Visa

To help law enforcement investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. This legislation created the T and U visas. These visas are available to victims of serious crimes and human trafficking who agree to help law enforcement. They must also meet other eligibility requirements. If a T visa or U visa is an option for you or a family member, consult with your immigration lawyer.

T Visa Eligibility

In addition to being a victim of human trafficking, the following requirements must be met to be eligible for a T visa:

  • As a result of human trafficking, the individual is now physically present in the United States,

  • The individual took reasonable steps to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking,

  • The individual would suffer extreme hardship if the T visa is not granted and the individual is not allowed to stay in the United States,

  • The individual must be otherwise admissible for entry into the United States. Depending on the reason for inadmissibility, a waiver may be available.

Cooperation with law enforcement’s investigation or prosecution of human trafficking will not be required if the victim is under 18 years of age or, due to the psychological or physical trauma of the crime, they are unable to cooperate with law enforcement efforts.

Derivative nonimmigrant status may also be available to certain family members of T visa petitioners. These include:

  • Children under the age 21 who are unmarried
  • Spouse
  • Parents (only possible if the T visa petitioner is also under the age of 21)
  • Sibling under the age of 18 who are unmarried (only possible if the T visa petitioner is also under the age of 21)

In addition to qualifying as one of the above derivative nonimmigrant status categories, these family members must show that either themselves or the principal T visa petitioner would suffer extreme hardship if the family member was denied permission to stay in the United States. Also, the family relationship must continue to exist when the family member seeks a T visa to the point where the family member is granted the T visa and has been officially admitted into the United States.

T Visa Application Process

To apply for the T visa, your immigration lawyer must complete Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, as well as provide evidence that you meet the requirements of a T visa. While not technically required, individuals are strongly advised to also complete Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons. This supplemental form will provide proof that law enforcement supports the individual’s request for a T visa because the individual was a victim of human trafficking and fully cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.

  • Immigration Form I-914: The Importance of Accurately Completing Immigration Forms

If an individual wants to apply for a T visa as a result of his or her familial relationship to the principal T visa petitioner, the family member will ask the principal T visa petitioner to complete Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Immediate Family Member of T-1 Recipient.

If the family member is located outside the United States, the family member may contact the relevant US embassy or consulate to schedule a personal interview once Form I-914, Supplement A has been approved. At the interview, a consular officer will confirm the individual is eligible to receive the T visa and the individual will submit biometric information (fingerprinting). If the T visa is granted, the individual will be allowed to enter the United States. A T visa it is good for four years, although after three years, the T visa holder will be eligible to apply for a Green Card.

Is There a T Visa Waiting List?

There is a limit of 5,000 on the number of T visa that may be issued each year. If this limit is reached, additional petitioners will be placed on a waiting list. However, this 5,000 visa limit has never been reached, so it’s highly unlikely a petitioner will be placed on a waiting list. Regardless, to ensure the efficiency and accuracy of your T visa application, you are encouraged to retain an immigration lawyer. The last thing you want is a mistake that will doom your application.

End Your Victimization and Begin Your Future Today

The immigration process and all the associated procedures with securing a visa are extremely complicated. Couple this with the fact that you are a victim of a crime, do not be afraid to seek assistance from experienced immigration and visa counsel. The right lawyer can make the difference between a process that is relatively efficient and smooth and one that leaves you in the throws of despair when you are denied status.

Call the New York immigration lawyers and former New York City prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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