Requirement 2: You are in the United States, American Samoa, or a port-of-entry to the United States or American Samoa because of human trafficking.
In the question, Am I eligible for a T-visa?, we list all of the requirements that you have to meet to be eligible to apply for a T-visa. In this section, we explain the second requirement in detail.
Requirement 2: You are in the United States, American Samoa, or a port-of-entry to the United States or American Samoa because of human trafficking (known as being "present because of human trafficking").
To be eligible for a T-visa, you must be in the United States (or American Samoa or a port-of-entry into the United States) because of a severe form of trafficking. In other words, if you came to the U.S. because of force, coercion, or fraud and you are now being forced to work (in a prison-like workshop or as an agricultural laborer, for example) or perform sex acts for money (i.e., prostitution), you may satisfy this requirement. However, if you came to the U.S. on your own and then sometime later you were forced / tricked into labor or prostitution, you may not meet this eligibility requirement.1 Please talk to an immigration lawyer about your specific situation to be sure. You can find free and paid lawyers on our Finding a Lawyer page.
Note: You may still be considered “present because of human trafficking” even though you are no longer working under force, coercion, or trickery if you recently escaped or were released from a severe form of trafficking. If you escaped from severe trafficking a long time ago, you may meet this requirement only if you remained in the United States because of the initial severe form of trafficking (if, for example, you were frightened to leave the U.S. due to threats from the traffickers). However, if it was a very long time ago that you escaped from the person forcing you to work or engage in prostitution, and you have had the opportunity to leave the United States since then, you will NOT be considered present because of human trafficking.1 An immigration lawyer can likely help you figure out if you meet this requirement if you are unsure whether or not your escape / release would be considered "recent." See our Finding a Lawyer page for free and paid legal services.
1 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(g)