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Knowing the T visa requirements could be of your interest since this visa is a temporary immigration relief granted to victims who have suffered human trafficking in the United States.

Because the U.S. typically has a high rate of human trafficking and smuggling, the U. S. government created this program to protect victims. In fact, the T visa allows some family members to also be eligible to obtain one.

This visa not only offers protection and assistance to foreigners, it also strengthens the investigative capacity of law enforcement agencies. 

What Is It And What Are The Requirements For The T Visa In 2024?

T visas offer protection and assistance to foreigners who have been brought to the U. S. through human trafficking. To be eligible for a T visa, you must meet the following requirements: 

t visa to avoid human trafficking
  • Having been a victim of a severe form of human trafficking.
  • Be in the United States, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands because you are a victim of human trafficking.
  • Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship related to unusual and serious personal injury if you leave the U. S.
  • Be admissible to the country. If you are not, you can apply for a an immigration waiver to the United States or a parole to enter as a nonimmigrant.
  • Comply with reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of crime. 

If you are under 18 or unable to cooperate with law enforcement due to physical or psychological trauma, you may be exempt from this last requirement. 

Eligible Family Members

In addition to victims of human trafficking, certain family members may also be eligible for the T visa:

  • Parents.
  • Children of any age or marital status.
  • Unmarried siblings under 18 years of age.

It should be noted that the eligibility of family members will depend on:

  • The age of the main victim of human trafficking. That is, if you are younger or older than 21 years of age, and
  • If your relatives are at risk of retaliation for collaborating with law enforcement or escaping human trafficking.

We recommend that you do not carry out these processes alone, as they are complex. Therefore, our immigration law firm in New Jersey will help you bring your loved ones to the U. S. 

Types Of T Visas Available

The types of T visas are:

  • T-1: For victims of human trafficking.
  • T-2: Spouses of the T-1 visa holder.
  • T-3: Children of the T-1 visa holder.
  • T-4: Parents of the owner.
  • T-5: Unmarried siblings under 18 years of age of the holder. 

Types Of Trafficking According To U. S. Federal Law

Human trafficking under U. S. Federal Law is classified in two ways: 

  • Sex trafficking: Involves commercial sexual acts through force, coercion, or fraud, and 
  • Labor trafficking: Involves forced labor, servitude or slavery through force, coercion or fraud.

How To Apply For The T Visa?

To apply for a T visa you must submit the following documents to USCIS:

  • Form I-914, application for T nonimmigrant status. 
  • A personal statement in which you explain in your own words how you were a victim of human trafficking.
  • Evidence showing that you complied with all reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement. If possible, you may submit Supplement B to Form I-914.
  • Court documents, police reports, news articles or other credible evidence if you do not submit Supplement B.
  • Evidence showing that you meet all T visa eligibility requirements.
t visa approval in usa

If necessary, you may also need to file Form I-192, Application for Advance Parole of Entry as a Nonimmigrant.

To apply for an eligible immediate family member, you must submit Supplement A to Form I-914. You can file it at the same time as the I-914, while it is being processed or upon obtaining T status. 

Documents Required To Apply For The T Visa

  • 3 photographs that meet visa requirements.
  • Form I-194, including supplement A and B, if required. 
  • Form DS-160, or online visa application.
  • Evidence that you meet all the requirements. For example, who has suffered human trafficking.
  • Other evidence showing that you meet the eligibility requirements. 

To know in depth all the requirements that you need to submit for this visa, do not hesitate to contact us. Our lawyers Carolina Theresa Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman will be able to advise you.

T Visa Interview

The presence of both T-1 parents is not required at visa interviews for T-3 children or other eligible family members. In the event that only one parent participates in the interview, a letter from the other parent expressing her consent for the issuance of the visa may be required.

What Are The Benefits Of Obtaining A Type T Visa?

Foreigners who have obtained a T visa may:

If you do not yet have T status, but are a victim of human trafficking, you may be eligible for these benefits if:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given you a letter of eligibility or certification, or
  • You have been granted continued presence in the U. S. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

How To Obtain Employment Authorization With The T Visa?

Filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, varies depending on whether you are the primary applicant or an eligible family member.

  • Primary Applicants: If you have obtained a T visa, USCIS will issue you an EAD. USCIS uses the information from the I-914 to generate the permit, so it is not necessary to submit an I-765.
  • Eligible family members: If you are in the U. S, you must submit the I-765 to obtain an EAD. If you are outside, you are not eligible to receive it until you have been legally admitted to the United States. 
how to get a job in the united states while being illegal

Once USCIS grants you a T visa, they will automatically send you an Employment Authorization Document. This permit will allow you to get a job in the United States even if you were illegal.

What Comes After The T Visa?

Normally, the duration of T nonimmigrant status is 4 years, and in some circumstances, it is possible to extend it. 

Additionally, those with T status can apply for lawful permanent residence after one of the following first occurs:

  • 3 years in the U. S. with the T visa, or 
  • Once the investigation or prosecution of acts of human trafficking has been concluded.

After getting the Green Card, over the years, you can go through the process to obtain US citizenship.

Requirements To Obtain The Green Card Through The T Visa

To be eligible for a Green Card through T nonimmigrant status visa, you must meet the following requirements:

t visa duration
  • Have been legally admitted to the United States with a T visa.
  • Maintain T-1 status when applying for the Green Card.
  • Have maintained continuous physical presence in the U. S. for an uninterrupted period of 3 years. 
  • Demonstrate good moral character at all times.
  • Comply with any of the following requirements:
    • Reasonably collaborate with the investigation or prosecution of acts of human trafficking.
    • Demonstrate that your removal from the United States would cause extreme hardship with unusual and severe harm.
    • Having been under 18 years of age at the time of human trafficking.

Continuous Physical Presence Requirements

To maintain continuous physical presence, you must not be outside the United States for more than 90 days in a single trip or periods accumulating more than 180 days. 

However, you may have the opportunity to justify it. An example could in the scenario where you had to collaborate longer in the trafficking investigation. Either way, exceeding these limits without justification will disrupt continued physical presence.

What Is Considered A Reasonable Request? 

A victim’s cooperation in human trafficking investigations depends on the “reasonableness” of law enforcement’s request. Factors include: 

  • Nature of victimization 
  • Circumstances of the victim, and 
  • Law enforcement practices.

If a police statement is not included in the T visa application, credible evidence of cooperation must be submitted. It must explain the reason and demonstrate good faith efforts to obtain the declaration of compliance with the law. 

USCIS will evaluate the evidence to determine compliance with the cooperation requirement. For more information, see the complete DHS guidance.

How To Apply For The Green Card Through The T Visa?

There are requirements also to apply for Green Card via the T visa. You can apply for the Green Card after you have held the T visa for 3 years. Of course, you must have maintained a continuous physical presence throughout that period. 

If you apply early, USCIS will reject it unless you submit a certification from the U. S. Attorney General. This certificate must indicate the conclusion of the investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking. 

In any case, to apply for the Green Card through the T visa, you must submit Form I-485, application to register permanent residence or adjustment of status, to USCIS.

Green Card Application For Eligible Family Members 

Family members of foreigners with T nonimmigrant status may be eligible to apply for a Green Card if:

  • The primary applicant’s Form I-485 is pending, was approved but is not yet a resident, or is being filed at the same time as their I-485.
  • You were admitted to the U. S. under T-2, T-3, T-4 or T-5 status and continue to maintain that status when applying for residency.
  • You are admissible to the U. S. as a lawful permanent resident or have been granted an immigration waiver by USCIS. This is in case it has been inadmissible when applying for the Green Card.
  • You meet all eligibility requirements to apply for lawful permanent residence.

Unlike the T visa holder, family members do not need to meet the continuous physical presence requirement. 

u. s family based immigration

In the event that your family has not been able to adjust status, when you become a lawful permanent resident you can petition to bring your family by means of U. S. family-based immigration.

How Much Does The T Visa Cost?

The T visa is free, so you will not have to pay anything to apply for it. However, there may be some additional costs, especially for the family. For example, $470 for each family member who submits an employment authorization online.

Fortunately, you can request a fee waiver for employment and advance parole forms to enter as a nonimmigrant. This exemption also applies to Form I-131, travel document application and adjustment of status application.

It should be noted that paper applications for employment authorization cost $520 for each applicant.

Can I Travel Outside The US After I Am Approved For A T Visa?

It is key that you contact your immigration attorney before considering traveling outside the U. S. after obtaining the T visa. Some common problems that may arise when traveling outside the country include:

  • Not being able to return to the country, unless you request it at a consulate.
  • You could face denial of lawful permanent residence.
  • Revocation of your T visa if you return to the U. S. with another type of American visa or without permission. 
  • Becoming inadmissible to the U. S. 

If you have T status and have submitted an application for lawful permanent residence, you must apply for “advance parole.” If you do not do so, USCIS may consider that you have abandoned your residency application upon leaving the country.

How Long Is The Processing Time For The T Visa?

It is difficult to know how long it takes for the T visa to be approved as it varies from person to person. However, the average processing time is usually 17 to 36 months. Of course, if USCIS requests additional documents, the process may take much longer. 

How Long Does The T Visa Last?

The T visa has a maximum duration of 4 years, which allows the holder to carry out activities such as: obtaining a driver’s license in NJ for undocumented immigrants, study and work. 

After this period, it is necessary to return to the country of origin or you will face legal consequences.

Extension Of Stay

T nonimmigrants must obtain approval from USCIS to extend their stay beyond the date indicated on their admission stamp or Form I-94. 

It should be noted that failure to leave on time leads to unlawful presence, automatically canceling visas. This may invalidate multiple entry visas and affect eligibility for future applications.

What Is The T Visa Success Rate In 2024?

According to updated data from USCIS, currently the T visa success rate is 29%, while the denial rate is almost 43%.

As you can see, the T visa rate shows a particular dynamic in the petitions processed. This means that just over a quarter of applications are successful. 

On the other hand, the denial rate indicates that a significant percentage of applicants do not obtain approval. That being said, we highlight the importance of understanding and addressing the T visa eligibility process. 

What Is The Annual Cap For T Visas?

The U. S. Congress has capped 5,000 T visas for primary victims each fiscal year. This limit does not include the victim’s family members, and until now, this annual limit has never been reached.

What Is The Difference Between The T Visa And The U Visa?

what is a u visa

The T visa focuses on helping victims of human trafficking, while the U visa is designed for victims of various crimes. Additionally, the U visa requires a certification related to cooperation in an ongoing criminal investigation.

Can You Travel Outside The U. S. With A T Visa?

Yes, those with a T visa can apply for a travel permit (parole) to travel in and out of the U. S. The application involves completing Form I-131 and obtaining approval before traveling.

What Can The Curbelo Law Firm Do For You?

Although having legal representation is not a requirement under U. S. immigration laws, it is more advisable to have a well-versed lawyer in these cases since your chances of getting approved will be highly increased.

Victims of human trafficking could take advantage of the benefits of this visa to stay in the U. S. Therefore, public order will determine if you meet the necessary requirements to obtain a T visa, otherwise your application could be denied. If so, you may face deportation. 

Our immigration attorneys are available to offer specialized advice on T visas. You can call us, send us an email or schedule an appointment with the office, located in Ridgewood, New Jersey.