Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status
T nonimmigrant 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 nonimmigrant status is also available to certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims. T nonimmigrants 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).
Congress created this nonimmigrant status (commonly referred to as a T visa) in October 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery 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 through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status
You may be eligible for T nonimmigrant 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);
- Demonstrate 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. You may apply for a waiver using a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant).
Applying for T Nonimmigrant Status
To apply for T nonimmigrant status, you must submit:
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, including a personal statement describing the trafficking you are or were subjected to;
- Evidence to establish that you complied with any reasonable request for assistance from law enforcement, or that you qualify for an exception or exemption. You may submit Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons to demonstrate that you are a victim of trafficking and that you have complied with any reasonable request to assist law enforcement. However, you may also choose to submit other evidence instead of or in addition to the Form I-914, Supplement B, such as records of your communication with law enforcement, trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, news articles, affidavits, or other relevant credible evidence;
- Evidence to show that you meet all other eligibility requirements;
- Evidence to demonstrate that you are admissible, or Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant seeking a waiver of applicable inadmissibility grounds, if you are inadmissible.
There is no fee to file Form I-914 and Form I-914A. Therefore, you do not need to submit a fee waiver request for either form.
You may request a fee waiver for other forms you are filing in connection with your application for T nonimmigrant status. These forms include:
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
- Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a nonimmigrant; and
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
For more information on fee waiver requests, see Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver.
Safe Address and Confidentiality Protections
If you do not feel safe receiving mail from USCIS at your home address, you may include a safe address on your application. You do not have to be living at the safe address. If you need to let USCIS know that you have changed your mailing address after you have filed an application for T nonimmigrant status, see the Special Instructions at Change of Address Information.
If you apply for T nonimmigrant status with USCIS, any information about you or your application for T nonimmigrant status is strictly confidential and is protected by law. DHS can only share this information in very limited circumstances and may not deny your application based on evidence provided solely by your trafficker. Individuals are also protected against traffickers attempting to provide adverse evidence against them in relation to their application with USCIS.
Eligibility for Qualifying Family Members
Certain qualifying family members may be eligible for T nonimmigrant status. Regardless of your age, you may apply for the following family members if they are in present danger of retaliation as a result 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 nonimmigrant status.
If your family members are not in present danger of retaliation, then follow the chart below
|If you are…||Then you may apply for your…|
|Under 21 years old||SpouseUnmarried children who are under 21 years oldParentsUnmarried siblings who are under 18 years old|
|21 years old or older||SpouseUnmarried children who are under 21 years old|
To apply for a qualifying family member, you must file Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Family Member of T-1 Recipient (PDF, 622.79 KB). You may file Form I-914, Supplement A, at the same time as your Form I-914, or while your application is pending, or while you are in T nonimmigrant status.
Whether you need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization depends on whether you are a principal applicant or qualifying family member.
- Principal applicants: If you are granted T nonimmigrant status, USCIS will provide you with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) at the same time your Form I-914 application is approved. The information from your Form I-914 is used to generate the EAD, which is also known as a work permit. You do not need to file Form I-765 with the application for T nonimmigrant status.
- Qualifying family members: If you are included as a qualifying family member on Form I-914, Supplement A, and you are living in the United States, you must submit Form I-765 if you want to apply for an EAD. You may file Form I-765 together with Form I-914, Supplement A, or at a later time. If you live outside the United States, you are not eligible to receive an EAD until you are lawfully admitted to the United States. Do not file Form I-765 if you are living outside the United States.
After You Obtain T Nonimmigrant Status
T nonimmigrant status is generally granted for 4 years. In certain situations, you may be able to extend your T nonimmigrant status by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Additionally, T nonimmigrants 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 nonimmigrants, or after continuous physical presence in the United States during the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking which is complete, whichever occurs earlier. For detailed information about the eligibility requirements, see Green Card for a Victim of Trafficking (T Nonimmigrant).
Eligibility for Services and Benefits
If you have T nonimmigrant status, you are eligible for a number of federally funded benefits and services. If you do not yet have T nonimmigrant status but are a victim of trafficking, you may also be eligible for these benefits and services if:
- The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) has granted you Continued Presence (PDF); or
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided you with a letter of certification or eligibility.
- T Visa Law Enforcement Certification Guide (PDF, 654.59 KB)
- U nonimmigrant status: Victims of human trafficking may also be eligible to apply for U nonimmigrant status (U visa). See Victims of Criminal Activity, U Nonimmigrant Status.
- Continued Presence: CCHT may grant Continued Presence for an initial period of 2 years to victims of human trafficking in order to provide immediate temporary relief from removal from the United States. Victims must meet certain requirements, and only a federal law enforcement agency (such as ICE or the FBI) may request Continued Presence for an individual. Those granted Continued Presence are eligible to apply for employment authorization as well as federal services and benefits. For more information, see CCHT’s Continued Presence fact sheet (PDF) (PDF) and Continued Presence Resource Guide (PDF).
- USCIS resources: Find information for victims and organizations that help them at Resources for Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes.
- Information for law enforcement: Learn about law enforcement’s role in supporting applications for T nonimmigrant status and other relief for victims of human trafficking and other crimes at Information for Law Enforcement Agencies and Judges.
National Human Trafficking Hotline: To report suspected human trafficking and receive support and services to get help and information on how to stay safe, call 1-888-373-7888. This is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 200 languages. The hotline is operated by Polaris, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization.