T Visa Attorney in South Florida
Supporting Victims of Human Trafficking
Many are surprised to learn that human trafficking occurs in the United States. In fact, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the world. To address this escalating concern, the United States created the T Visa in 2000 under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, and it continues to serve immigrants from all around the world who endured this form of modern-day slavery and severe violation of human rights.
If you or a family member survived a “severe form of human trafficking” as defined by USCIS, you may be able to acquire the T Visa if you assist law enforcement with a trafficking investigation or prosecution. This 4-year, nonimmigrant visa allows recipients to obtain employment authorization, certain government benefits, and, in many cases, an opportunity to apply forpermanent residency.
T Visa Requirements: Who Can Qualify?
Human traffickers use fraud or coercion to force people to provide labor or services. They often target individuals without lawful immigration status because those individuals are less likely to go to the police or possess the documentation or resources needed to expose the crime.
To qualify for the T Visa, you will need to have experienced a "severe form of trafficking." According to federal law, severe trafficking is either:
- Sex trafficking (i.e. a person is forced, defrauded, or coerced into commercial sexual acts, or they are compelled to do so when they are under 18 years old); or
- Labor trafficking (i.e. a person is forced, defrauded, or coerced into slavery, debt bondage, servitude, or peonage).
You may qualify for the T Visa if you have been a victim of either or both forms of severe trafficking and you are currently in the U.S., American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or a port of entry. Unless you are under 18 or your trauma prevents you from doing so, you must also comply with reasonable requests from police or law enforcement to assist with trafficking investigations or prosecutions. Finally, you will need to demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship if you were forced to leave the U.S.
Additionally, you may be able to apply for a T Visa on your family member’s behalf if:
- They are in danger of retaliation because you escaped trafficking or cooperated with police; AND
- They are your parents, your unmarried siblings under 18 years of age, or the children (of any age or marital status) of family members with T Visas.
If they are not in danger of retaliation, they may still qualify if:
- You are under 21 years old and they are your spouse, parent, unmarried sibling under 18 years old, or unmarried child; OR
- You are 21 or older and they are either your spouse or your unmarried child under 21.
Secure the Benefits of the T Visa
The United States is rarely lenient with immigration violations or crimes, no matter how minor. T Visa applicants and recipients, however, are exempt from certain expectations. If you would normally be inadmissible to the United States, for example, you may be able to file a waiver and obtain the T Visa anyway. Furthermore, you may not need to meet certain requirements when you apply for a green card as a T Visa holder.
At The Gaston Law Firm, P.A., we want to help you attain safety and security. No matter what you or your loved ones have been through, we can provide empathetic, high-quality legal support and guidance. Whether you want to temporarily live in the U.S. or build a home that will protect your family for generations, we are ready to help you achieve that goal.