The T visa is a nonimmigrant visa for victims of human trafficking and violence. Victims are the following:
- People who have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained for prostitution by force, fraud, or coercion
- People who have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained for prostitution by force, fraud, or coercion and are under the age of 18
- People who have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained for prostitution by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of servitude, debt bondage, or slavery
In October 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act was put in place to “combat trafficking in persons, especially into the sex trade, slavery, and involuntary servitude.” The Act is divided into three parts:
- Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
- Violence Against Women Act of 2000
- Miscellaneous Provisions
To apply for a T visa, applicants must file Form I-914, the application for T Nonimmigrant Status. Along with Form I-914, applicants must submit three passport size photographs, a personal statement explaining the violence experienced and evidence that demonstrates eligibility.
The following are the requirements for T Visa eligibility:
- The applicant must prove that he or she is physically in the U.S., one of its territories or ports-of-entry due to a severe form of trafficking.
- The applicant must help in the investigation or prosecution of such acts, unless applicant is under the age of 18 or unless the applicant is unable to because of physical or psychological trauma.
- The applicant must prove that leaving the U.S. would cause him or her extreme hardship and severe harm.
After meeting certain requirements, a T visa holder may be able to apply for a Green Card. This means he or she can remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident and eventually seek U.S. citizenship. These are the eligibility criteria for a Green Card as a T nonimmigrant.
- The applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of 3 years since entering the country as a T nonimmigrant.
- The applicant must have assisted in the investigation.
- The applicant must prove extreme hardship and severe harm if forced to return to home country.
- The applicant must be a person of good moral character.