The Trafficking Victims Protection Act and T Visa

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) is a U.S. federal law that was enacted in 2000 to combat human trafficking. The TVPA has been amended several times over the years to address different issues in human trafficking. In particular, the law provides for the T visa (also known as the “T-1” visa), which is a nonimmigrant status intended to give victims of human trafficking a path to permanent residence in the United States. To qualify for this status, the applicant must be an individual who suffered severe forms of trafficking, such as being forced into sexual slavery or labor exploitation. Further, the applicant must have been active in efforts to report the crime and aid in the prosecution of his or her traffickers. 

Those who qualify for the T visa are allowed one year of admission to the United States, during which time they must either complete certain requirements for permanent residency or apply for a special extension. At the end of the year, they can either request an extension to remain in the United States for another year or apply for a green card. While the T visa is intended to grant noncitizens who suffer from trafficking permanent legal status in the United States, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, an applicant who has been convicted of a crime related to trafficking or served a prison sentence exceeding one year would be ineligible for the T visa. Individuals who have been deemed inadmissible would also be ineligible.

The TVPA also provides for the granting of a special status known as U nonimmigrant status to qualifying relatives of the victims and witnesses of the crime. Relatives may be eligible for this status if they assist in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, or if they care for a victim or witness in need of medical treatment or assistance. In order to be eligible for the U nonimmigrant status, the relative must either have a valid foreign passport or be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Once a victim receives a T visa, their immediate family may be eligible for permanent residency as well.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking and are seeking permanent residency in the United States, contact RelisLaw today at 1-800-514-4290 to schedule your consultation. We also offer consultations via Skype, Zoom, and other platforms.



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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.