T & U visas

T & U visas

T & U Visas

The United States has many laws and policies to protect and support victims of crime, including immigration protections.

T Visas

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 created immigration protections for non-citizen victims of human trafficking.

Eligibility

A current or former victim of trafficking;

Currently in the United States or U.S. territories, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;

The victim complies with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. (This is not required for a victim under the age of 18, or if the victim is unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma);

The victim must show that he or she would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if he or she was removed from the U.S.;

The victim must be admissible to the U.S.

Cost

Form I-914 filing fee: $0

Form I-192 filing fee: $585 (though this can be waived upon a showing of financial hardship)

Legal fees: case-by-case basis

Process

1. File Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status along with three passport size photographs, a personal statement explaining, and supporting documents. Also include Form I-914B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer.

2. The victim may file for work authorization with the T Nonimmigrant application. If the victim has a ground of inadmissibility, he or she will need to also submit a waiver of inadmissibility application (Form I-192).

3. USCIS approves or denies the application.

4. If the application is granted, the victim can apply for permanent residence after three years.

Time

The current processing time is 4-8 months.

* There are only 5,000 T visas awarded each year. If the cap has been met, but the victim is found eligible, the victim will be placed in a deferred action status until the next fiscal year when a visa may become available. Victims of trafficking are likely also eligible for a U visa.*

U Visas

U nonimmigrant status is available to qualifying nonimmigrants who were victims of certain crimes occurring in the United States that have been or currently are helpful in a law enforcement investigation or prosecution or could be in the future.

Eligibility

A victim of qualifying criminal activity. These include: abduction, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, female genital mutilation, felonious assault, fraud in foreign labor contracting, hostage, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, peonage, perjury, prostitution, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, stalking, torture, trafficking, wintess tampering, unlawful criminal restraint, or other related crimes. (these include
attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these and other related crimes);

The victim has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity;

The victim has information about the criminal activity. If under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on his or her behalf;

The victim was helpful, is helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf;

The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws; and

The victim is admissible to the U.S. (or files a waiver of inadmissibility).

Process

1. File Form I-918, Application for U Nonimmigrant Status, supporting documents, and a Form I-918B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer.

2. The victim may file for work authorization with the U Nonimmigrant application. If the victim has a ground of inadmissibility, he or she will need to also submit a waiver of inadmissibility application (Form I-192).

3. USCIS approves or denies the application.

4. If the application is granted, the victim can apply for permanent residence after three years.

Cost

  • Form I-918 filing fee: $0
  • Form I-192 filing fee: $585 (though this can be waived upon a showing of financial hardship)
  • Legal fees:
    • U visa: $4,000
    • U visa and waiver based on criminal issues: $4,500

Time

  • The current processing time is a little over 2 years.

* There are only 10,000 U visas awarded each year. If the cap has been met, but the victim is found eligible, the victim will be placed in a deferred action status until the next fiscal year when a visa may become available*

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