If you are the victim of human trafficking, you may qualify for the T Visa

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The T Nonimmigrant Visa, or T Visa (Form I-914), provides temporary status and protection to certain victims of human trafficking to the U.S. who cooperate with law enforcement, as well as their qualifying relatives. The goal of this program is to encourage victims to come forward and help law enforcement prosecute criminals without the fear of removal. Recipients of T Visa may also gain a path to adjustment of status (a green card), and potentially U.S. citizenship. While not every circumstance merits a T Visa, we hope to provide an informative guide for what qualifies, and highly encourage those who believe they may meet these conditions get screened for the T Visa with our office.

There are three categories of trafficking criteria that USCIS checks applicants for: Process, which means the specific activity of trafficking a person; Ways and Means, which involve the manner of persuading, deceiving, or forcing the victim; and Goal, which involves the purpose for trafficking.

  • Process refers to the following trafficking methods: recruitment; transportation; or transferring, harboring, or receiving a person.

  • Ways and Means include: threats, coercion, abduction, fraud, deceit, deception, or abuse of power.

  • The Goal category involves sex and labor trafficking, which may include: prostitution, pornography, violence or sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery.

For the most part, victims must cooperate with law enforcement, such as investigators and prosecutors, regarding the qualifying crime(s). They cannot refuse a reasonable request to cooperate. Exceptions exist for minors (victims under age 18) and those with physical or psychological trauma that prevents cooperation. Applying for a T Visa can involve the optional step of having that cooperation certified by the pertinent law enforcement agency, using Form I-914 Supplement B. Our office will handle filling out Form I-914B and obtaining certification from the agency, if necessary, so applicants need not worry about that part of the process.

Finally, a T Visa application requires that the victim to show both 1) that they experienced substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of their trafficking; and 2) that being removed from the United States will cause “extreme hardship” for them.

Examples of extreme hardship include:

  • Medical or psychological needs that will not be met in their country of origin.

  • Lack of government protection from further harm.

  • Refusal by government to prosecute their traffickers.

  • Social stigma in the country of origin as a result of trafficking circumstances.

Victims of human trafficking, especially for the purposes of sex or labor exploitation, are among the most vulnerable categories of undocumented immigrants. Oftentimes, threats of violence, poverty, removal, or other kinds of retaliation force these victims to live in the shadows of society. The T Visa offers a path out of the shadows and into more stability and safety. Soberalski Immigration Law is extremely happy to provide T Visa services. Our office phone number is 414-533-5000, and we are more than happy to assist in your T Visa application.