Under the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act (TVPA), victims of human trafficking may qualify for a form of immigration relief known as T Nonimmigrant Status, or the “T visa.” Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to compel individuals to provide labor or services, including commercial sex. Traffickers prey on vulnerable individuals, especially those without lawful immigration status. Many survivors of crime are not aware that they may qualify for the T visa created under the TVPA.
What are the benefits of a T visa?
- T visas provide temporary immigration benefits that allow a victim of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to four years if he/she demonstrates a willingness to assist law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.
- Qualifying family members of the victim also may be eligible for immigration status.
- When a T visa is approved, the individual is eligible for employment authorization and other federal and state benefits.
- Through a T visa, a victim may also be able to adjust his/her status and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
How do I know if I am eligible?
To be eligible for a T visa, you must:
- Be a victim of human trafficking, either sex or labor or both.
- Be present in the United States on account of the trafficking.
- Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking, unless you are under the age of 18 or unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma.
- Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States.
If you think you may be eligible for a T visa or you’d like to learn more about legal assistance, contact the PROTECT project at LSNJ at 1-844-576-5776. An attorney can determine whether you are eligible, assist you in cooperating with law enforcement and gathering evidence for your application, and connect you to services to assist you through the process of recovery.
This information last reviewed: Mar 5, 2021