Now that I have T visa status, can I apply for permanent resident status?
Someone granted T visa status may apply for permanent residence if s/he:
- has been in the United States for whichever amount of time is shorter:
- a continuous period of at least three years after getting T visa status; or
- a continuous period during the investigation or prosecution of a criminal case against the traffickers;
- has been a person of “good moral character” since first being granted T visa status;
- has complied with law enforcement’s reasonable requests since first being granted T visa status or would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if s/he were removed from the United States; and
- has not committed acts that trigger immigration law barriers to status (“grounds of inadmissibility.”)1
To apply for permanent residence, which is known as “adjusting your status,” you must file Form I-485, available at the USCIS website here.
Note: “Good moral character” is defined by a list of certain behaviors. The law spells out acts and crimes that, if committed, could prevent an immigrant from getting many kinds of lawful status, including lawful permanent residence for those with T visa status and naturalizing to become a U.S. citizen. The most common barriers to showing good moral character are based in criminal behavior.2 A lawyer may be able to rely on prior decisions (known as “case law”) by the immigration and federal courts to overcome these barriers. This is, again, an area that requires attention from an experienced immigration lawyer. To find an immigration lawyer, visit our National Organizations - Immigration page and/or our Finding a Lawyer page.
1 8 C.F.R. § 245.23
2 INA §101(f)