What is a T Visa?
Human trafficking is a huge problem throughout the world. It involves the illegal use of both adults and children for nefarious purposes against their will. Often, traffickers will enslave people and smuggle them into other countries, which is also illegal. In 2000, the United States Congress passed two acts meant to protect victims of human trafficking with
the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act. These laws help to protect victims by providing them with a T Visa. The T visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the US to victims of human trafficking. Both adults and children are eligible to receive the visa to keep them protected against their abusers. Generally speaking, these people find themselves smuggled into the country against their will due to the false claims of traffickers that they will receive employment or other benefits. As a result, the US grants them the ability to apply for the T visa to stay in the country.
In addition to extending protection to survivors of human trafficking, the T visa also often leads people obtaining a green card to stay in the country permanently. A person in the Los Angeles, Texas area should retain an immigration visas attorney to help them when looking to get the T visa.
Why Apply for a T Visa?
The T visa offers survivors of human trafficking certain benefits. They include the following:
- Legal immigration status for four years
- Four years of authorization for employment
- The chance to apply for legal permanent residency by meeting certain criteria
- Federal refugee benefits such as cash assistance, job training and food stamps
- Public benefits in some states
- The opportunity to petition for T visas for some family members in the US or abroad
The best immigration visa lawyer Los Angeles has to offer can help with the preparation of applications for the visa and additional benefits. Applicants 21 and older can petition for their spouses and children to receive a T visa as well. For those under 21, they can petition for their spouses, children, parents and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 to obtain T visas.
Additionally, as an immigration visas lawyer would explain, survivors of any age can obtain a T visa for their parents, unmarried siblings under 18 or adult or minor children if there is immediate danger to them or if they are cooperating with law enforcement.
Who is Eligible for a T Visa?
There are certain criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for a T visa. They include the following:
- The applicant must be a survivor of severe human trafficking or attempted human trafficking of either the sex or labor variety
- The applicant is physically inside the US or at a port of entry due to the trafficking and must have remained in the country during the most recent instance of trafficking
- The applicant has complied with reasonable requests for assistance in investigating or prosecuting the traffickers and are 18 or older
- The applicant is at risk of suffering extreme hardship if they are removed from the US
Advantages of T Visas Over Other Immigration Relief
A T visa attorney in the Los Angeles area would explain to a client that there are certain advantages a T visa provides versus other types of immigration relief. They include the following:
- Not having to relive an experience with law enforcement. If the victim is under 18, T visas do not require them to do so. There is a cooperation exception for survivors who have suffered physical or psychological trauma as well.
- A T visa can be granted without certification from law enforcement. An applicant can give evidence and documentation of cooperation if law enforcement refuses a request for certification. Those under 18 don’t need to submit certification to apply for the visa.
- T visas are more readily available than other types of immigration relief.
- T visas have generous waivers, which allows even applicants with prior criminal or immigration violations to obtain one if those violations were directly caused by trafficking.
- Individuals who obtain T visas can receive the same federal benefits as refugees while U visa holders are not.
How to Apply for a T Visa
Applying for a T visa is fairly straightforward. However, if you are a survivor who wishes to apply, you should have an LA T visa attorney working to help you to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Your immigration lawyer in Los Angeles can help you with any questions or concerns. Unlike the U visa, an applicant must already be in the US, which means there is no need to go through an Embassy. Speak with the best immigration lawyer Los Angeles has to get any additional information.
The following must be submitted when applying for a T visa:
- Completed Form I-914, Applicant for T Non-Immigrant Status
- Completed Form 1-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons, which is a certification stating the applicant has been proven by law enforcement to be a victim of trafficking
- Three passport-sized photos that meet US Visa Photograph Requirements
- Additional evidence to prove the applicant meets the eligibility requirements
Are There Application Fees for the T Visa?
The top criminal victim visa lawyer Los Angeles has can guide applicants every step of the way. There is no fee for submitting an application, but as an immigration visas attorney will tell you, there is a small fee for filing the forms. However, filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, can allow an applicant to bypass it.
Length of Time to Get a T Visa
Speaking with an immigration visas lawyer, you would learn that the length of time it takes to obtain your T visa varies. There is no set time between applying and processing as it varies depending on the person and the evidence in their case.
If you are a survivor of human trafficking looking for help, you need the best T visa attorney in Los Angeles on your side. Your Los Angeles visa attorney can help you to prepare all the necessary documentation for your case. Contact an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles immediately to begin your T visa application.