Victims of Trafficking are issued a T visa to enable them to enter and work temporarily in the United States. The T visa category is available to victims of labour and sex trafficking and their immediate family members if they seek help from law enforcement in the US.
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This article explains everything you need to know about the T visa for Victims of Trafficking.
What is T Visa for Victims of Trafficking?
T Visa is a US non-immigrant visa issued to victims of trafficking in the US, who have severe trauma from the experience. Human trafficking is a global issue that needs urgent attention.
It has ruined the lives of many in pursuit of greener pastures. Victims of human trafficking are usually lured with promises of a better life in a foreign country but end up as slaves to culprits. Children and young women are the most common victims of trafficking.
The United States took a bold step in 2000 by passing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which led to the creation of the T visa.
TVPA was passed to protect noncitizens of the US who are victims of severe forms of trafficking and are willing to help law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the culprits.
Under the TVPA, the following cases are considered as “severe forms of trafficking”
- Labour trafficking using coercion, force, or fraud for the purpose of servitude, or debt slavery
- Sex trafficking using coercion, force, or fraud for purpose of commercial sex act.
- When a minor, below age 18 is persuaded to engage in a commercial sex act
What Are the Requirements for T Visa?
To qualify for this kind of visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have been a victim of severe form of human trafficking
- You must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry, as a result of trafficking.
- You’re liable to suffer severe hardship, if you’re deported from the US.
- You have agreed to comply with the law enforcement agency to investigate and prosecute the culprits. However, you’re exempted from the requirement to cooperate with the law enforcement agency on these basis:
- If you’re a child under 18 years or
- You have suffered severe physical or mental trauma from your experience.
Benefits of Victims of Trafficking with T Visa
Victims of Trafficking with this kind of visa, enjoy the following benefits:
- They are automatically granted an Employment Based Document (EAD). With EAD, they are permitted to do any legal job in the US.
- They are eligible for permanent residence after staying in the US lawfully for 3 years.
- They can study in the US.
- They can bring their immediate family members with them to the US.
What Should I Do If I’m A Victim of Trafficking
If you’re a victim of human trafficking or you know someone who’s a victim, the first thing you should do is seek help from law enforcement agency in the US. You can call the US toll-free hotline 1-888-373-7888 to seek help.
How To Apply for T Visa
Applying for a this kind of visa is relatively easy. You’re not required to pay any Visa Application fee. However, unlike most US visa types, the visa applicants for this type of visa must apply directly to the USCIS Vermont Service Center.
The following documents are required for the T Visa Application process:
- A completed copy of Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Visa Status.
- A completed copy of Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons.
- 3 photographs in accordance with US Visa Photograph Requirements.
- Other relevant evidence showing that you’re eligible for the T Visa.
How Long Does It Take To Process T Visa
The Processing time for a this type of visa depends on the evidence provided by the applicant. It varies from person to person and there is no approximate time for processing this visa type. You will be contacted by USCIS once your visa is available.
Can I Bring My Family Members With T Visa
Immediate family members of this type of visa holders may accompany them to the US with a T Visa. The immediate family members include spouse, parents, unmarried children and siblings of the T Visa holder. They are not required to be within the US before they can apply for a Visa.
Family members of a this visa holder can apply for a T visa following these steps:
- Complete online Form DS-160
- Upload their passport photograph
- Schedule an interview
- Pay the nonrefundable Visa fee of $160
- Go for the Visa Interview
How Long Can I Stay in the US with T Visa
This type of visa is valid for 4 years, after which the visa holder is expected to leave the US. However, the visa can be extended if law enforcement verifies that the victim of Trafficking needs to stay longer in the US.
Can I Apply for Permanent Residence with T Visa
Yes, after 4 years, a T Visa holder becomes eligible to apply for permanent residence in the US.
If you have questions about the this visa type, kindly write to us in the comments section below.