If you have been a victim of smuggling or human trafficking in the United States, knowing in detail the T visa requirements could help you to bring some light after suffering a terrible situation.
The T visa is one of the types of U. S. visas intended for immigrants in the United States who are victims of human trafficking and smuggling. Our New Jersey immigration lawyers will be by your side throughout the entire application process.
Call us today so that our Latina attorney Carolina T. Curbelo can learn more about your situation and provide you with the best advice possible.
Learn What The T Visa Is And Its Requirements In 2023
To be eligible for a T visa in 2023, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have been a victim of human trafficking or smuggling.
- You must be physically located in one of the following places:
- American Samoa.
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or;
- At a port of entry for being a victim of smuggling or human trafficking.
- You comply with any reasonable request by law enforcement agencies to assist with a criminal investigation or prosecution of human trafficking or qualify for a waiver.
- Unless you are under 18 years of age or unable to cooperate with the investigation due to physical or psychological trauma or disability.
- Admissible in the United States.
- If you are found inadmissible, you may apply for a waiver with Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant .
- You can show that you would suffer extreme hardship if you left the US.
How To Apply For A T Visa?
To apply for a T visa, you must submit the following documents:
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status along with a personal statement explaining in your own words how you became a victim.
- Some evidence showing that you complied with all requests to help law enforcement agencies.
- You can file Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of a Law Enforcement Officer for Victims of Human Trafficking showing that you are the victim of human trafficking.
- You can also submit other evidence, such as:
- Sworn statements.
- Press articles.
- Credible and relevant evidence.
- Transcripts of a trial.
- Any legal documentation.
- If you are inadmissible, you may file Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant .
- Some evidence showing that you meet all eligibility requirements for a T visa.
What Immigration Relief Is Available To Victims Of Human Trafficking?
Victims of human trafficking who meet the eligibility requirements will be able to obtain a T visa. The purpose of this visa is to allow victims to remain in the country in order to assist in the investigation of the crime.
If the victim was granted a T visa, they may be eligible to get a Green Card and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. As long as they have been physically present in the country for 3 years.
You may also be eligible for a Green Card if you have been physically present in the US continuously throughout the entire human trafficking investigation or prosecution process. That is, whichever comes first.
Another form of immigration relief that you may find available is the U visa. These are awarded to people who have suffered some type of physical or mental abuse. If you have been a victim of violence, persecution, or illegal activity in your home country, you may be able to apply for the asylum process in USA.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Trafficking, or human smuggling, is a form of slavery in which traffickers lure victims with false promises of employment and a better life. Human trafficking occurs when the trafficker uses fraud or force against the victim to do forced labor.
In our article “Human trafficking and migrant smuggling” we delve into the subject and tell you everything you need to know about it. You may also be interested in our crimmigration law section as we enter the field where immigration law and criminal defense intersect.
Will I Be Able To Work Legally With A T Visa?
Once USCIS grants you a T visa, they will automatically send you an Employment Authorization Document or work permit. This permit will allow you to get a job in the United States even if you were illegal.
Please note that filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization will depend on whether you are a principal (main) applicant or an eligible family member.
If you obtain a T visa, USCIS will provide you with an EAD document , which will allow you to work. As long as your Form I-914 is approved.
USCIS uses the information you provided on Form I-914 to generate an EAD. You will not need to file Form I-785 with your application for nonimmigrant status.
Eligible Family Members
If you have been approved as an eligible relative on Form I-914, Supplement A and are living in the US, you will need to file Form I-765 if you apply for an EAD.
You can file Form I-914, Supplement A with Form I-765 or later if you live abroad.
You will not be eligible to receive a work permit until you have been lawfully admitted to the US.
There is no need to file the I-765 if you live abroad.
How Long Can I Stay In The US As a holder of A T Visa?
The T visa is only valid for 4 years. Although there are extensions that can help you. T nonimmigrants can become permanent residents after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the US.
You will be able to become a legal permanent resident through an adjustment of status in the US. In our dedicated section you will be able to learn about the alternative to an adjustment of status, consular processing that is used for those who wish to carry out their procedures from abroad.
Can Relatives Get A T Visa?
Some immediate relatives will be eligible to obtain a T visa for derivative T nonimmigrant status. Regardless of their ages, family members can file a family petition if they are at risk of retaliation as a result of human smuggling or trafficking.
Family members who can get a T visa are:
- Children of any age.
- Single siblings under 18 years of age.
If you have become a permanent resident and want to petition your parents or any other relatives to the US, you can do so through family-based immigration in the United States.
Family members who are not in danger of retaliation can apply for a T visa if:
- The primary applicant is under 21 years of age. They can apply to petition their:
- Children under 21 years of age.
- Single siblings under the age of 18.
- The primary applicant is 21 years of age or older. In this case they may apply to petition their:
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age.
What Federal Financial Benefits Will I get?
Once you have obtained certification, your T visa is approved, or you are under 18 years of age, you may receive benefits from a federal program. You will receive the following:
1# Financial Support
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers help and job opportunities to those in need and those with children under 18 years of age.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers food stamps that can be used just like cash to pay for food you buy at grocery stores.
- Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides educational assistance to pregnant women and families with children under 5 years of age.
- Matching Grants Program provides employment services, housing assistance and a monthly allowance.
- Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance (RCA & RMA) if you are not eligible for TANF, Medicaid and SSI you may be eligible for RCA and RMA.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offers benefits for people who are disabled or who are at least 65 years old and have limited income.
2# Health Care
- The Torture Treatment Program provides HHS-funded social, psychological, legal, and general health services to all victims of torture.
- Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program for people with low incomes and limited resources.
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) available to children under 18 years of age lacking health insurance and that do not qualify for Medicaid.
- One-Stop Career Center System will help you look for a job or receive information. It will also help you find out about education centers.
- Job Corps is a free education and employment training program for young people between the ages of 16 and 24.
- Victims of human trafficking or smuggling have the right to receive public housing assistance.
5# Social Services
- Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program provides resettlement services for unaccompanied minors refugees or victims of human trafficking.
6# Other Programs
- State Specific Program. Each state has its own additional program to help victims of human trafficking or smuggling. Therefore, we recommend that you contact our immigration attorney for advice. Curbelo Law is located in Ridgewood and Newark, New Jersey.
Can I Travel Outside The US After My T Visa Is Approved?
It is important that you speak with an immigration attorney before traveling as the following issues may arise:
- You will not automatically receive the T visa physically. This will be necessary for your trip. If you leave the country, you will not be able to re-enter. Unless you request it from the consulate.
- After you receive your T visa, if you return to the US on a different type of visa or if you enter illegally, USCIS will revoke your T visa.
- If you are outside the US for more than 90 days or more than 180 days on a combined package tour, you may be denied lawful permanent residence.
- If you leave the US and then return, you may be found inadmissible.
- If you have a T visa and have applied for permanent residence, you will need to apply for a parole before you leave the US.
- If you do not apply for a parole before you leave, USCIS will consider that you have abandoned the application and your petition for permanent residence will be denied.
In these cases, you may become eligible to apply for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility to the United States to see if you are eligible to apply again for immigration benefits.
What Fee Do I Have To Pay To Apply For The T Visa?
There is no fee to file Form I-914. However, you may file a Request for Fee Waiver using Form I-912 for any other forms associated with Form I-914.
The fees for the forms as of the date of the article include:
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: $410
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: $1,140 (or $750 for certain applicants under 14 years of age)
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document: $575
- Form I-192, Application for Advance Parole for Entry as a Nonimmigrant: Between $585 and $930
You can review the cost of these and other fees on the official USCIS website or contact us directly by email or phone.
T-Visa requirements FAQs
If you have read this far, you already have an idea about what the T visa is, its requirements and how to obtain it, but it is very likely that you have more questions. Here we have compiled some of the most frequent, if you do not find an answer you can always call us or write to us directly.
Is There A Limit For The number of T Visas available?
T visas are limited, USCIS can only issue up to 5,000 T visas per fiscal year. If there are more valid applications than the limit, USCIS will place the applications on hold. If your application is approved, you will be awarded the EAD so you can work while you wait to become the holder of a T visa.
Do Federal Laws Prohibit Human Trafficking?
All federal laws prohibit human trafficking and smuggling. The 13th amendment to the US Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, making it a serious criminal act in the country.
Is A Victim Of Human Trafficking Eligible For Any Benefits?
Victims of human trafficking or smuggling may be eligible for a number of benefits and services, mostly funded by the federal government.
These benefits are independent of your immigration status. As long as they are certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Note that:
- Once a victim has been certified, they will be eligible to receive the same services as a refugee.
- Victims under 18 years of age will be eligible for benefits and services without the need to be certified.
Can I Obtain US Citizenship With The T Visa?
T visas can be a path to citizenship. Directly you will not be able to get it, but if you meet all the eligibility requirements, you will be able to obtain a legal permanent residence after 3 years of continuous presence in the country.
If you stay in the US as a Green Card holder for 5 years, you will be able to apply for a process to obtain US citizenship.
Where Can I Send The T Visa Application?
On the I-914 form you will be able to find the address where to send your application. The address is the following:
Vermont Service Center
ATTN: VAWA / T-Visa Unit
75 Lower Welden St.
Saint Albans, Vermont 05479-0001
Do I Need A Lawyer To Apply For A T Visa Or Can I Find The Documents Online?
Although the forms for a T visa application can be downloaded from the USCIS website, it is important to contact an immigration attorney to help you effectively complete the petition.
The laws are complex and it is very likely that you will make a mistake if you try to go through the process alone or do not include some essential requirement that USCIS would ask for. Don’t worry, at Curbelo Law we have been successfully dealing with T-Visa related cases for over 10 years. Call us and tell us about your situation to learn about your options and available paths.
What Can the Curbelo Law Firm Do For You?
Although it is not a legal requirement, T visas procedures will require an efficient legal advice to represent you, since despite being granted to victims of human trafficking and smuggling, some immigrants may take advantage of the benefits of this visa to stay in the US.
Law enforcement will first determine if you meet all the requirements for a T visa, otherwise your application may be denied. If so, you may face deportation.
All immigration cases are often complicated, which is why you should have a reputable immigration attorney with you throughout this process. The Curbelo Law firm has more than 10 years of experience in immigration cases. Our Latino attorneys can communicate with you in English and Spanish.
Call us today so we can begin to analyze your case and tell you the real options you have.