T visa for victims of human or sex trafficking

The T visa is designed for victims of labor or sex trafficking who are present in the United States due to trafficking. 

T non-immigrant status is a temporary immigration benefit that enables certain victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons to remain in the United States for an initial period of up to 4 years if they have complied with any reasonable request for assistance from law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking, or qualify for an exemption or exception. 

T non-immigrant status is also available to certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims. T non-immigrants are eligible for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. T nonimmigrants who qualify may also be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents (obtain a Green Card).

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a crime in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to compel individuals to provide labor or services, including commercial sex. Traffickers often take advantage of vulnerable individuals, including those lacking lawful immigration status. T visas offer protection to victims and strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prosecute human trafficking.

Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking in persons” is:

  • Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or
  • Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services using force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

You may be eligible for T non-immigrant status if you:

  • Are or were a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons as defined above
  • Are physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;
  • Have complied with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you were under the age of 18 at the time at least one of the acts of trafficking occurred or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma; if either case applies, you may not need to show that you complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement);
  • Show that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States; and
  • Are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may be eligible for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility. 

Certain qualifying family members may be eligible for T non-immigrant status. Regardless of your age, you may apply for the following family members if they are in present danger of retaliation because of your escape from trafficking or cooperation with law enforcement:

  • Your parents;
  • Your unmarried siblings under 18 years of age; and
  • The children of any age or marital status of your qualifying family members who have been granted derivative T non-immigrant status.

If your family members are not in present danger of retaliation AND you are under age 21, then you may apply for your spouse, unmarried children who are under age of 21, parents and unmarried siblings who are under age of 18

If your family members are not in present danger of retaliation AND you are 21 years old or older, then you may apply for your spouse and unmarried children who are under age of 21.
T non-immigrant status is generally granted for 4 years. T non-immigrants may be eligible for lawful permanent residence (a Green Card) after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the United States since they were first lawfully admitted as T non-immigrants, or after continuous physical presence in the United States during the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking which is complete, whichever occurs earlier.