Visas for Victims of Trafficking

The United States provides visas to "victim[s] of a severe form of trafficking in persons." 22 C.F.R. § 41.12. Granted under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)(I), the "T Visa" allows a person to temporarily remain and work in the United States while an investigation or prosecution for the crime that the individual was a victim of is pending.

Usually, when a T-Visa is issued, a law enforcement officer submits a letter to immigration authorities, declaring that the visa applicant has been the victim of a "severe form of trafficking in persons." The person applying for the T-Visa must comply with any reasonable request for assistance in a law enforcement investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking.

Attorney for "T Visa" in The Woodlands, TX

The circumstances that create the basis of a T-Visa or U-Visa are extremely unfortunate. In many of these cases, a law enforcement officer or prosecutor wishes for the victim of trafficking to remain in the country so that a criminal case can be properly investigated or prosecuted.

To qualify for a T-Visa, the person must be a victim of severe forms for human trafficking, and the victim must be willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

A qualified and experienced Texas immigration lawyer can help you fight for the chance to remain and work temporarily in the United States while there is an ongoing case. Contact an experienced immigration attorney at Luis F. Hess, PLLC. Our office is located in Shenandoah in Montgomery County, Texas, just north of The Woodlands. Luis F. Hess represents clients throughout Montgomery County and Harris County, TX, including Conroe, Shenandoah, The Woodlands, Spring, and Houston, TX.

Call (281) 205-8540 to discuss your case.

What is Human Trafficking for Purposes of the T Visa?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1581 prohibits peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons. A defendant is liable under § 1589(a) of the TVPRA when he or she "knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person" by any of the following means:

  1. By means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person;
  2. By means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or another person:
  3. By means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or
  4. By means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint.

A defendant is also liable under § 1590 if he or she "knowingly recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means, any person for labor or services." 18 U.S.C. § 1590(a).

An experienced immigration attorney can help you file a petition for temporary residence in the U.S. as a victim of trafficking. You might also qualify for a U Visa if you are the victim of a crime. Like the T-Visa, the victim of the crime must cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. With a U-Visa, you are not permitted to leave the country while the U-Visa is pending.

Additional Resources

Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status - Visit the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to learn more about the T nonimmigrant status (T visa), which applies to the victims of human trafficking to allow them to remain and work in the United States while assisting in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking including labor trafficking.

This article was last updated on Friday, January 26, 2018.