A Guide To T Visas For Human Trafficking Victims | USAHello (2024)

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T visas offer temporary status to certain victims of trafficking. Find information on who can apply. Learn about the application process, as well as getting a work permit and Green Card. Know where to find support.

Updated February 13, 2024

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The U.S. government offers immigration protection for certain victims through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). T visa is for victims of human trafficking and a U visa is for victims of serious crimes.

What is a T visa?

T visas (also called T nonimmigrant status) offer protection for victims of severe forms of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is when people are forced to work or do things they do not want to do through force, threats, or lies. It is a serious crime in the USA. Traffickers often trick people with false promises of jobs and a better future. They also use fear of deportation.

There are 2 main types of trafficking for this visa:

  • Sex trafficking: when someone is forced, threatened, or tricked into engaging in a sexual act that makes money for someone else.
  • Labor trafficking: when someone is forced, threatened, or tricked into working. This could mean being forced to work against their will or in order to pay a debt. They are usually not allowed to quit and are not paid right. They may live and work in bad conditions that are not safe or healthy.

People with T visas get nonimmigrant status for 4 years. Nonimmigrant status means it is temporary. They may be able to get a Green Card to stay in the United States if they meet certain requirements.

T-Visa holders can:

  • Stay in the USA for up to 4 years
  • Work legally in the U.S.
  • Avoid detention and deportation
  • Request legal status for family
  • Receive public benefits
  • Apply for a Green Card to stay permanently if requirements are met

Who can apply?

You can apply for a T visa if you meet each of the following requirements:

  • You experienced a severe form of human trafficking.
  • You would suffer extreme hardship if you were forced to leave the USA.
  • You are physically present in the USA or its territories because of trafficking.
  • You help law enforcement with any reasonable request related to the trafficking investigation.
  • You meet U.S. admissibility requirements or have a waiver. You might be inadmissible if you have committed certain crimes or pose a threat to the public. If you do not meet admissibility requirements you may still be eligible to apply if you have a form I-192. A legal representative can help you with this.

If you were under 18 when any trafficking occurred or you could not help due to trauma, you may not need to have helped law enforcement.

How do I apply?

You apply for a T visa through USCIS. It does not cost anything to apply. You will need to:

  • Complete Form I-914.
  • Provide evidence you have been a victim of trafficking.
  • Provide evidence that you are currently in the USA because of trafficking.
  • Get a certification from law enforcement with Form I-918, Supplement B that states you are helping their investigation. You do not need to have this if you were under 18 when trafficked or are not able to help because of severe trauma.
  • Include a personal statement about your experience.

You will mail your forms to the USCIS Vermont Service Center.

It is important to get legal advice. A lawyer or accredited representative can help you find out if you qualify and complete your application.

Work permit

A work permit is also called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD shows employers that you are allowed to work in the USA.

If you are the principal applicant you will automatically get your EAD card when your Form I-914 is approved if you checked “Yes” on Part 3, Question 10. You do not need to file a separate application.

If you are a qualifying family member on Form I-914, Supplement A you can get your EAD by submitting Form I-765. You can submit this at the same time as you send in your petition or you can send it later. You must be inside the USA to get an EAD.

Public Benefits

T-visa holders are eligible for a range of public benefits. Once approved, you’ll get a letter from the Health and Human Services Department. It will certify your eligibility. You can use this to apply for benefits.

If you are a trafficking victim but you do not yet have your T-visa, you may still be able to get public benefits. You will need one of the following:

  • A certification letter from the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Proof you have Continued Presence (CP). CP is a temporary immigration designation from the Center for Countering Human Trafficking

Public benefits you can apply for include:

  • Housing assistance
  • Food and income assistance
  • Employment assistance
  • English language training
  • Health and mental health services

Green Card

If you are approved for a T visa, you can apply for lawful permanent residence and get a Green Card. In most cases, you must have lived in the USA for 3 continuous years and meet other requirements.

To apply for a Green Card you will need to file Form I-485. Learn about the requirements and process for a T-visa holder.

If approved for a Green Card, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years.

Your safety

USCIS will keep all your information confidential. They will not share your information without your permission except in rare cases.

If you do not feel safe getting mail at your home, you can get a safe address you can use on applications.

Many undocumented immigrants worry that if they report a crime, they may be deported. The T visa program is there to help people who are victims of trafficking and make it safer to report them. You are not required to have legal immigration status to apply for a T visa.

Find help and support

Legal Help

It is important to get legal advice as you consider your options. A lawyer or accredited representative can help you find out if you qualify and complete your application. Many organizations and lawyers offer free or low-cost legal help.

Human trafficking help

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733 (BeFree) for help and to report trafficking. You can also chat online or submit a tip using the online form.

You can talk to a person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Interpreters are available over the phone in more than 200 languages. You do not need to share your name or personal information. Any information you provide will not be shared without your permission.

The hotline can help you:

  • Get crisis support, emergency assistance, and safety planning
  • Connect to organizations that offer shelter, transportation, legal help, and case management
  • Find local resources with an online referral directory

You can also report trafficking to the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Tip Line online or by phone at 866-347-2423.

Call 911 if you are ever in immediate danger. You have the right to emergency help no matter what your immigration status is.

Emotional support

Survivors of trafficking may experience trauma, leading to sadness or depression. Getting mental health support can help you feel better. Learn more about trauma and where to find help.

A Guide To T Visas For Human Trafficking Victims | USAHello (1)

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The information on this page comes from USCIS, WomensLaw.org, and other trusted sources. We aim to offer easy to understand information that is updated regularly. This information is not legal advice.

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A Guide To T Visas For Human Trafficking Victims | USAHello (2024)
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