Victims of Human Trafficking May Qualify for Green Cards

In October 2000, Congress created T nonimmigrant status (often referred to as the “T Visa”) to fight against human trafficking and to provide immigration relief for those who are trafficked into the United States. T nonimmigrant status is a temporary immigration visa that allows certain victims of an extreme form of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 (four) years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. This visa is extended to a derivative family member of the trafficking victims.

T nonimmigrants are authorized to receive work permits as well as certain state and federal benefits. Many immigrants overlook the fact that the T-Visa also leads to permanent resident (green card) status. A particular advantage is that immigration law specifically exempts T visa recipients from the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility so that even noncitizens who are likely to become public charges are eligible for T visas.

T Visa benefits include:

  • 4 years of lawful immigration status;
  • 4 years of employment authorization;
  • The ability to apply for lawful permanent residency if the T visa holder meets certain criteria;
  • Federal refugee benefits, including cash assistance, food stamps, and job training;
  • Public benefits in various states; and
  • The eligibility to petition for T visas for certain family members in the United States or abroad.

How do I Qualify?

  1. You must have been a victim of a “severe form of trafficking,” Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking” is:
  2. Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or

    Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides or obtains a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

  3. You must be physically present in the United States or at a port of entry (i.e. border) on account of the trafficking, and you must have remained in the United States since the most recent act of trafficking;
  4. You must have cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking;
  5. You are potentially subject to extreme hardship upon your deportation or removal from the U.S.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with an Austin Immigration Attorney

If you have experienced victimization in the form of trafficking, or you simply want to determine if the T-Visa applies to your immigration case, please call experienced Austin immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, of Michael G. Murray, P.A., today at (512) 215-4407 or contact the firm online.