In recent years, the United States has seen an increase in awareness and support for victims of human trafficking. For individuals who have experienced such trauma, the T visa offers a glimmer of hope and a chance for a fresh start.
Navigating the T visa process can be complex. It is essential to understand the steps when seeking safety and security.
What is a T visa?
A T visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to non-citizens who are or have been victims of a severe form of trafficking and who assist law enforcement with investigating or prosecuting trafficking acts. The visa allows the victim to remain in the U.S. legally for up to four years. In some cases, it can help obtain permanent residence.
Who is eligible under Ohio law?
To be eligible for a T visa, individuals must meet specific criteria outlined in state law. Severe forms of trafficking include both sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Qualifications for T nonimmigrant status include:
- Presence in the United States, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or at a port of entry
- Victim of a severe form of human trafficking
- Potential harm if you leave the United States
- Cooperation with law enforcement requests for investigation or prosecution assistance
Certain family members may also qualify.
What are the steps in the T visa process?
The complicated application procedure for a T visa requires professional guidance. Victims must gather evidence and documentation to support their claims. They can use police reports, medical records or affidavits from social service agencies to substantiate their case.
Next, individuals must fill out Form I-914. This form requires detailed information about the trafficking incident and the victim’s cooperation with law enforcement. It also includes information about any admissible family members.
After turning in all the necessary paperwork, applicants wait for a decision. The processing time can vary. Individuals can check their application status online. Understanding how to apply for a T visa is vital for those seeking refuge from human trafficking.
In 2019, there were 1,883 reports of human trafficking in the U.S. By adhering to state laws and navigating the application process diligently, victims can find a path toward safety, stability and a brighter future.