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June 7, 2019

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" if they are willing to help law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute crimes related to human trafficking. However, if the victim is under 18 years of age, or if they are unable to cooperate because of physical or emotional trauma, 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.2 However, sometimes it can be longer than four years if a law enforcement authority certifies that having the victim remain in the country for longer is necessary for investigating or prosecuting the crime, or if there are exceptional circumstances.3

An employment authorization document (EAD) is granted automatically with a T-visa. This 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 21.5

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

1 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)
2 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(c)(1)
3 8 U.S.C. § 1184(o)(7)(A-B); 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(l)
4 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(d)(11)
5 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(k)