T visa for victims of human trafficking
Immigrant victims of crimes in the United States have special rights. The T visa is one of them.
At Quiroga Law Office we tell you everything about the T visa, its benefits, requirements, and processing times.
What is the T visa?
In 2000, the United States Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which created both U and T visas
The T visa offers non-immigrant status to victims of some form of human trafficking who have assisted in the investigation of the crime.
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery in which unprincipled people take advantage of others for personal and/or commercial purposes. By using force, misleading, and pressure, the trafficker forces his victims to provide jobs or services against their will.
Also read: Visa Types to Enter the United States
Under federal law, there are two severe forms of human trafficking:
Sex trafficking, which involves the recruitment, retention, transportation, and restraint of a person for the purpose of providing sexual services against her/his will.
There is also labor trafficking, which involves the provision of labor services by force or under threats, leading to servitude, laborers, to pay a debt or slavery.
T visa benefits
The most important benefit of the T visa is deferred action. This means that you will be protected against deportation.
In addition, once you are granted T-1 nonimmigrant status, you will be granted an Employment Authorization Document without needing to apply separately.
Your T visa will be valid for 4 years, but after the third, or sooner if the criminal investigation and trial end, you can apply for legal permanent residence, also known as a Green Card. This can only be requested before the validity of your T visa expires.
Working legally in the country will allow you to carry on and will give you a chance to rebuild your life.
Additionally, the T visa can also be assigned to some close relatives of the victim. For example, a victim over 21 can petition her husband and children, while a victim under the age of 21 can also petition her unmarried siblings and their parents.
T visa requirements
- You are or have been a victim of any of the crimes listed above.
- You must collaborate with law enforcement agencies in the investigation of the human trafficking case.
- This collaboration must be certified to apply for the T visa.
- Fill out the forms and pay the fees established by USCIS.
How long does the T visa take?
The U.S. government limits the number of T visas available nationwide to 5,000. If you meet the requirements and have been assigned one, but the annual limit has been reached, you will be placed on the waiting list.
The processing time for your T Visa application may vary depending on the number of pending applications, other people on the waiting list, and several other factors.
However, like the U visa, the T visa process may take up to several years. According to USCIS data, for the fiscal year 2020, the average processing time is almost 17 months.
For this reason, it is important to be clear from the beginning that presenting a strong case can prevent you from being denied the T visa. Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer with experience in this type of case.
This article provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. Each case is different and only a certified immigration attorney can advise you of the best.
At Quiroga Law Office we are willing to help, we can advise you with the immigration procedures that you and your family need.
Do not hesitate to contact us, our team of lawyers will take care of your case and will be with you throughout the process.