T nonimmigrant status was created to combat human trafficking. Human traffickers often target vulnerable foreign nationals, including those lacking lawful immigration status. However, the T visa offers victims of human trafficking protection and strengthens the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute incidents of human trafficking. You can apply for T nonimmigrant status (i.e. a T visa) if you have been a victim of human trafficking and have assisted law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of human trafficking. Human trafficking includes both sex and labor trafficking.
Not only may you be eligible for T nonimmigrant status, but certain qualifying family members may also derive T nonimmigrant status based upon their relationship to you. If you are under 21 years of age, your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried brothers and sisters under the age of 18 may derive T nonimmigrant status. If you are over the age of 21, your spouse and children may derive T nonimmigrant status.
You may qualify for T nonimmigrant status if:
- You are or have been the victim of human trafficking;
- You are in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry as a result of the trafficking;
- With limited exceptions, you comply with reasonable requests from law enforcement for assistance in their investigation and/or prosecution of the human traffickers;
- You would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were forced to leave the United States; and
- You are admissible to the United States or eligible for a waiver.
If approved, you may be authorized to remain in the United States for a maximum period of 4 years; this period may be extended. You will also be eligible for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. You may also be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence after holding T nonimmigrant status for at least 3 years or once law enforcement has completed its investigation and/or prosecution, whichever occurs first.