Immigration for Victims of Human Trafficking
If you are a victim of human trafficking then you may be eligible for a “T” visa. This visa requires that the following be true:
- You are a victim of human trafficking.
- You are assisting in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking, unless you are under the age of 18 at the time of the victimization or are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma.
- You are in the United States or at a port of entry “on account of” trafficking.
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States.
Only 5,000 of these visas are granted in any given year, though there is no cap for derivative family members, such as children. They cover both sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
79% of international trafficking journeys go through official border points. Many victims of human trafficking obtain a proper passport or visa only to have their unscrupulous employers take them away when they get here.
To apply, you would fill out two forms: the I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, and the Supplement B: Declaration off Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons. The supplement helps you prove that you are a legitimate victim of trafficking. You will be required to provide evidentiary documents and attend a visa interview.
If granted the T-visa, you will automatically receive an Employment Authorization Document or work permit which will allow you to obtain employment in the United States. You will be here under a Continued Presence, or CP status. The purpose is to allow you to participate in the investigation, and is only granted for one year. You can renew them in one year increments, and they may be revoked at any time if law enforcement determines that you are not a legitimate victim of human trafficking.
Despite being a non-immigrant visa, the T-visa does offer a path to a green card. In order to apply for a green card, you must:
- Have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a T-1 nonimmigrant.
- Hold that status while applying for a green card.
- Maintain continuous physical presence in the United States for at least 3 years or during the trafficking investigation or prosecution that the US Attorney General has determined is complete, whichever is shorter.
- Show good moral character since first being admitted during a T-1 immigrant and while your application is pending.
- You complied with any reasonable request to help with the investigation.
- You would suffer extreme hardship and unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States, or were under the age of 18 when trafficked.
To adjust your status in this fashion you’d need to fill out an I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
If you wish to adjust status then you will need help from a qualified immigration attorney, as there is little that is straightforward about this process. Reach out to our law office to get help today.
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