‘T’ & ‘U’ VISAS
When Congress passed the ‘Victims Of Trafficking And Violence Protection Act Of 2000’, which includes the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (VAWA 2000), on October 11, 2000, it also created two new categories of non-immigrant visas, – ‘T’ and ‘U’.
These visas are available to individuals who are victims of a ‘severe form of trafficking in persons’. This includes sex trafficking of persons under 18 years of age, obtaining persons for labor or other services through unfair means, such as, force, fraud or coercion ‘for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery’.
Most grounds of inadmissibility may be waived in these cases, and those aliens who have been granted T visas may adjust their status to that of lawful permanent resident (LPR) after three years of being issued the visa.
T visa applicants will be allowed access to government benefits regardless of their immigration status. However, to qualify for this benefit, the trafficking victim must be either under 18 years of age or must obtain a certification from the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) that:
In a period of one year only 5000 T visas may be issued and 5000 adjustments of T visa holders to LPR status may be granted. However, this numerical restriction applies only to the principal T visa holder and not to the spouse, child or parent of the principal immigrant.
Click here to read INS Fact Sheet on ‘T’ Non-immigrant Application Process.
These visas are issued to aliens who are either victims of or who possess information concerning one of the following forms of criminal activity:
Rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, hostage holding, peonage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury, or attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit one of these offences.
A federal, state or local official must certify that an investigation or prosecution process would be hindered without the presence and help of the alien victim or, in the case of a child, the victim’s parent.
Most grounds of inadmissibility may be waived in these cases, and those aliens who have been granted U visas may adjust their status to that of lawful permanent resident (LPR) after three years of being issued the visa. A maximum number of 10,000 visas may be issued in one year, applicable only to principals and not dependents.
1. VAWA 2000
2. VTVPA 2000
3. Congress Passes Violence Against Women Act of 2000
4. National Immigration Law Center
The information in this article is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship between Jethmalani & Nallaseth and the viewer.