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What constitutes ‘severe trafficking’ when applying for a T visa?

People who are in the U.S. and who have been victims of “a severe form of trafficking in persons” can get T visas. A T visa is a humanitarian visa. It allows trafficking survivors who cooperate with the police to live and work in the United States for four years. This time can be extended. T visa holders may later be eligible to live and work permanently in the U.S.

As we discuss the T visa (“T nonimmigrant status”), you may be wondering what counts as “a severe form of trafficking in persons.”

To qualify for a T visa, you must prove that you:

  • Have been a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons
  • Are physically present in the U.S., a port of entry or American Samoa on account of that trafficking
  • Have complied with reasonable police requests to assist in the investigation of the trafficking, unless you are under 18 and are unable to cooperate
  • Would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the U.S.
  • Are admissible to the U.S. or qualify for a waiver of admissibility

So, what is human trafficking for the purpose of a T visa?

Severe trafficking includes both sex trafficking and forced labor

When you apply for a T visa, you must show your trafficker engaged in force, fraud, or coercion to get you to work or to engage in commercial sex, unless you were under 18 at the time. This could include, for example:

  • Threatening serious harm or physical restraint
  • Threats against your family or children
  • Using a scheme, plan or pattern to cause you to fear serious harm or physical restraint
  • Isolating you, restricting your movement, limiting your ability to interact with others and threatening consequences if you act against the person’s wishes
  • Banishment, starvation or economic harm
  • Withholding pay or compensation so you miss out on food or medical care
  • Abuse or threatening to abuse the legal process to harm you, such as threatening to get you deported or file a criminal complaint against you

An immigration attorney can help you prove your case to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so you can get your T visa.

Involuntary servitude through domestic violence can also qualify

According to the USCIS, forced domestic labor can qualify as a severe form of human trafficking in persons. While an ordinary, unequal division of labor is not considered labor trafficking, domestic violence can create sometimes a condition of servitude. If it does, the victim could be eligible for a T visa.

If you have escaped from your trafficking or have the ability to communicate, contact Yew Immigration Law Group for help getting a T visa.