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?
- You must have been a victim of a “severe form of trafficking,” Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking” is:
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.
- 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;
- You must have cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking;
- 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.