T Visa: A Guide to U.S. Immigration Relief for Victims of Trafficking

Office Locations

Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.

DALLAS

OFFICE 1700 Pacific Ave. #3750, Dallas, TX 75201

FT.WORTH

OFFICE 851 Grainger St. Ste 107 Fort Worth TX 76104

SAN ANTONIO

OFFICE 110 Broadway St. Ste 370, San Antonio, TX 78205

HOUSTON

OFFICE 815 Walker Street, Ste 945, Houston, TX

Overview of the T Visa

The T nonimmigrant Visa is a temporary immigration benefit specifically designed for those who have complied with reasonable requests for assistance in law enforcement investigations or prosecutions of trafficking. It offers victims of trafficking a chance to rebuild their lives with dignity and support from the U.S. legal system.

With T nonimmigrant status, eligible individuals can:

  • Reside in the U.S. for up to four years

  • Obtain authorization for employment

  • Access certain federal benefits and services

As experienced immigration attorneys, we at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, understand that the T Visa represents a critical lifeline for victims of trafficking. We are deeply passionate about supporting families and individuals through these challenging situations, helping them to secure their legal status, and taking steps towards healing and a hopeful future.

Understanding Human Trafficking and the T Visa

Human trafficking is a heinous crime that operates on the principles of force, fraud, and coercion to exploit individuals for labor or sexual purposes. The U.S. offers T visas to provide protection for victims of such severe forms of trafficking. The T Visa is part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA), a landmark legislation demonstrating our nation’s commitment to individuals who face extreme hardship due to trafficking.

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we are acutely aware of the suffering caused by this modern-day form of slavery, which includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking. For us, it is not just about legal advice but ensuring protection and due care for trafficking victims. Our dedicated lawyers strive to support the victims throughout their recovery journey, diligently working to help them regain control of their lives and seek the justice they rightfully deserve.

Eligibility for the T Visa

Understanding the eligibility criteria for the T nonimmigrant status is crucial in providing our clients with professional assistance. Eligibility for the T visa hinges on several key criteria:

  • Presence in the U.S. as a result of trafficking.

  • Compliance with reasonable requests to further assist law enforcement in investigations or prosecutions of trafficking cases.

  • Victim of a severe form of trafficking, which can be sex or labor-related.

  • Substantial risk of retribution or hardship if removed from the U.S.

Your cooperation with law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, or local level is imperative for lawful immigration status unless you are exempt due to age or severe harm suffered.

Family members may also be eligible:

  • For applicants under twenty-one years of age, parents, spouses, children, or unmarried siblings under the age of eighteen may be considered.

  • For applicants over twenty-one, spouses and children are eligible for derivative status.

The U.S. Citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) guidelines provide a pathway for individuals to adjust their status and obtain lawful permanent residence after certain conditions are met.

Step-By-Step Guide to Applying for a T Visa

Applying for a T Visa involves several steps and close attention to detail. As experienced immigration attorneys, we are here to walk you through the application process.

  1. Eligibility assessment: We assess if you qualify as a victim of severe human trafficking, cooperating with law enforcement when possible. This may involve providing police reports or affidavits. A certification from a law enforcement officer can bolster your case.
  2. Completing the application: We guide you through filling out Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status. For qualifying family members, Supplement A is also necessary.
  3. Additional documentation: In this step, you gather the required documentation to demonstrate eligibility. We help organize evidence of trafficking and personal statements. In certain cases, a fee waiver might be applicable.
  4. Filing the application: We send the complete application packet to the designated USCIS processing location.
  5. Applying for employment authorization concurrently or subsequent to your T Visa application: As your work visa attorney, we can help apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly known as a work permit.
  6. Follow-up and adjustment of status: After filing, we monitor your case, respond to requests from USCIS, and prepare for potential hurdles, such as issues with Form I-192 inadmissibility waivers.

Understanding Your Rights and Protections

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we recognize the vital need for comprehensive legal protections for victims of human trafficking. Our commitment is to ensure that you, as a T Visa applicant, are fully aware of the rights and protections available to you. The T visa provides access to the following immigration benefits:

  • Employment: The right to legal employment in the United States. We assist with obtaining your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) so you can work and support your family members without delay.

  • Protection & continued presence: Protection from deportation with potential for permanent residence. We work to help you secure a safe and confidential location away from any potential harm. Additionally, we navigate the criminal justice system to support your “continued presence” in the country, which is essential for assisting with the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes.

  • Legal relief & path to residence: A path to lawful permanent residence after three years or upon completion of the criminal case, whichever comes first. This relief is pivotal, allowing you to rebuild your life with security and stability.

  • Legal assistance: Ongoing support throughout the legal process. At our firm, your rights and well-being are at the heart of our advocacy. We are here to navigate the legal complexities on your behalf, helping you begin anew with dignity and respect.

The Importance of Legal Representation

When navigating immigration processes, the intricacies of legal proceedings can be overwhelming. Legal representation is pivotal to the success of individuals seeking immigration benefits through the T visa. The role of a qualified immigration attorney is multifaceted, involving diligent cooperation with the law enforcement agency, effective navigation through investigations, and a thorough understanding of ever-changing immigration laws.

Our firm recognizes the nuances in securing immigration status and eventual citizenship for our clients. We can also offer the following services:

  • Legal expertise: Navigating complex immigration law requires expert knowledge to avoid pitfalls and maximize the chance of a favorable outcome.

  • Representation in proceedings: We provide legal counsel and represent individuals in immigration court, providing zealous advocacy and peace of mind.

  • Guidance through law enforcement cooperation: Our attorneys can facilitate the necessary cooperation with law enforcement for T visa certifications and other vital components of immigration cases.

Begin Your Immigration Journey: Seek Professional Help

Entrusting your case to our professional care may significantly influence your journey toward lawful residency in the U.S. At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, our commitment to our clients is unwavering, and our success is rooted in our passion to reunite families and ensure they are provided the sanctuary they deserve. We encourage anyone facing immigration challenges to seek dedicated legal assistance from our immigration attorney in Texas, who can guide them through these complex proceedings.

If you are seeking information on T nonimmigrant status and require confidential legal advice, contact us today. Our firm is ready to assist with a customized approach tailored to you and your other family member‘s needs.