Legal Information: Federal


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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.1  However, if the victim is under 18 years of age, the law does not require cooperation with police to obtain a T-visa.2

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.3

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.4  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 18.5

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

1 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)
2 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)(III)(cc)
3 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(p)(1)
4 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(l)(4)
5 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(o)