Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes there is. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is estimated that about 2.4 million victims in the world are lured into forced labor through human trafficking at any given time, and that women and girls account for about 80 percent of detected human trafficking victims. Tragically, sexual exploitation accounts for about 80 percent of detected cases.
Victims of human trafficking need and deserve protection – the T visa is intended to offer just that. If you or a loved one is a victim of human trafficking, you may be eligible to seek T nonimmigrant status. To learn more, please call our experienced attorneys at the Illinois Immigration Law Group immediately for counsel you can trust.
What Is a T Visa?
As part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, passed in 2000, Congress created the T visa. The T visa is designed to provide immigration relief for those who enter the United States as a result of severe forms of human trafficking. Under the act, severe forms of human trafficking include both sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
If a person receives a T visa, they will receive up to four years of lawful immigration status with the opportunity to apply for permanent residence status if certain criteria are met, employment authorization for up to four years, the ability to petition for non immigrant status for certain family members, and certain federal benefits, such as cash assistance and housing benefits, and state benefits (depending on the state).
Who’s Eligible for a T Visa?
According to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), a person is eligible for a T visa if:
- They have been a victim of a severe form of human traffic or are currently a victim of a severe form of human trafficking;
- They are living in the United States as a result of the trafficking – those who are currently in American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are also eligible;
- They can demonstrate that they would suffer severe hardship and unusual harm if they were to be removed from the United States; and
- They are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the human trafficking offense.
In order to apply for a T visa, a petitioner must file the Application for T Nonimmigrant Status along with an accompanying statement explaining how the petitioner is/was a victim of trafficking. Evidence to satisfy all other eligibility requirements must be supplied as well.
Call the Illinois Immigration Law Group for Help with Your Immigration Petition
If you are a victim of human trafficking and want to seek legal status within the United States, our lawyers at the Illinois Immigration Law Group can help. We understand and sympathize with the trauma you’ve experienced and the psychological and physical harm you’ve likely undergone and may still be experiencing. Our lawyers are here to provide you with the guidance you need and to advocate for your rights. Please call our lawyers today for a free consultation and more information about how we can help. Reach us now at (847) 495-2223.