Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals are lured by traffickers with false promises of employment and better life. There are two categories of trafficking under federal law:
The T visa is granted to aliens who are or were victims of human trafficking and who are willing to assist law enforcement to investigate and prosecute human trafficking acts. If the victim is under 18 or experiencing a physical or psychological trauma, then he or she does not have to help with investigation and prosecution of the traffickers. The T-visa is limited to 5,000 visas each year. Once the cap is reached, applicants would be prioritized the following year.
- Sex trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining a person for the purpose a commercial sex act where the person is forced or deceived, or the person is under 18 years old.
- Labor trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining 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.
The beneficiary of this visa is also eligible for the same benefits with refugees once certified by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). However, certificates are not required for beneficiaries under 18 years old.
How do I qualify for this visa? In order to be eligible for a T visa, the applicant must:
- be or have been a victim of severe trafficking.
- be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry.
- be willing to cooperate with a reasonable request by law enforcement authorities to assist in the investigation or prosecution of such trafficking or in the investigation of crimes where acts of trafficking are at least one central reason for the crime; and
- will suffer extreme and unusual hardship if removed from the United States.
How long can I stay in the US on this visa? A T visa holder can stay in the United States for three years. After the third year, the T visa holder may be eligible for permanent residency.
Am I allowed to work? Beneficiary of this visa is allowed to work as Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is also granted at the same time with T visa.