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May 6, 2013

What is a T-visa and what does it do?

A T-visa gives temporary nonimmigrant status to victims of  "severe forms of human trafficking" on the condition that they help law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute crimes related to human trafficking.*  However, if the victim is under 18 years of age, the law does not require cooperation with police to obtain a T-visa.*1

T-visas allow victims of severe forms of trafficking to stay in the United States for four years from the date the T-visa application is approved.  However, sometimes it can be longer than four years if a law enforcement authority certifies (officially states) that having the victim remain in the country for longer is necessary for investigating or prosecuting the crime.*2

If a T-visa is granted, an employment authorization document (EAD) is also granted automatically, which means that the victim can legally work during his/her stay in the United States.  There is no need to apply for separate employment authorization.*3  T-visa status may also be available for immediate family members of a T-visa applicant.  Immediate family members include spouses, children, and parents of applicants under 18.*4

Note: T-visa status is also called “T-1 nonimmigrant status."

* 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)
*1 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)(III)(cc)
*2 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(p)(1)
*3 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(l)(4)
*4 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(o)