T-Visas: A Path to Safety for Victims of Trafficking (in Coerced, Involuntary Labor)

Noncitizens living within the U.S. whether they entered with or without a valid visa, are often vulnerable to exploitation. T-Visas can change the lives of victims of human trafficking. These apply irrelevant if you are or were being paid. T visas are designed to provide protection and support. In order to best utilize this visa (that can lead to a Green Card), it’s essential to understand its purpose and the eligibility criteria.

T-Visa Eligibility

T-Visas are intended for victims of severe human trafficking, encompassing both sex and labor trafficking. To qualify for a T-Visa, a victim must meet several essential criteria:

Physical Presence: The victim must be physically present in the United States or its territories.

Assistance in Investigation: The victim should have complied or will comply with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of trafficking crimes.

Willingness to Assist: The victim must be willing in future to assist in the investigation or prosecution of trafficking crimes, if possible (there are exceptions to this requirement).

Coerced Labor and T-Visas

Coerced labor, a form of labor trafficking where victims are forced to work through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Victims of coerced labor can potentially qualify for a T-Visa if they meet the eligibility criteria. Additionally, they may be eligible for other benefits, such as a work permit and access to certain government services including free psychological treatment, and financial aid.

The Significance of T-Visas

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act provided the essential legal framework to enable T-Visas. It serves a crucial purpose in combating human trafficking, a crime where traffickers employ force, fraud, or coercion (including threats) to compel individuals to work, provide labor or services that they do not want to do

Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking in persons” is categorized into two main types:

Sex Trafficking: Involves recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, patronizing, or obtaining a person for commercial sex acts through force, fraud, or coercion, or if the person induced is under 18 years of age.

Labor Trafficking: Encompasses recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, with the intent of subjecting them to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

How T-Visas Benefit Survivors

T-Visas provide victims of human trafficking with temporary immigration benefits, allowing them to remain in the United States for up to four years initially, provided they have cooperated with law enforcement requests for assistance in trafficking detection, investigation, or prosecution. These visas also extend to certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims.

Nonimmigrants under T-Visas are eligible for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. Furthermore, those who qualify may be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents, commonly known as obtaining a Green Card.

By offering protection and support, T-Visas empowers victims of trafficking and aid law enforcement agencies in their fight for justice. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking and meets the eligibility criteria for a T-Visa, don’t hesitate to seek assistance. 

The professional and passionate team at RelisLaw is here to help you navigate this challenging journey. We work regularly on T visas! We understand the importance of making our clients feel like family. To learn more about your options and discuss your unique situation, schedule a consultation with us today by calling 1-866-916-1569. Your well-being is our top priority, and we are here to guide you through every step of the process.

The following two tabs change content below.


We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.