A visa is a document, often a card, that permits an individual who is not a United States citizen to enter the United States. It is typically placed inside their passport.
It is important to note that having a visa does not guarantee an individual will be permitted to enter into the United States. However, it does indicate that the individual has been deemed eligible to seek entry for a specific purpose.
What is a Nonimmigrant Visa?
A nonimmigrant visa is a temporary visa that is issued to individuals who are not United States citizens but are seeking to visit the U.S. for a certain period of time. An individual who is applying for nonimmigrant status must demonstrate that they do not intend to either remain or live permanently in the United States.
There are certain factors that may exclude some applicants from receiving a nonimmigrant visa. These include a criminal felony record, multiple criminal offenses, or any individual who has engaged in terrorist activity.
There are a limited number of nonimmigrant visas that are issued each year. This number is subject to change.
Whether or not a nonimmigrant visa is available depends, in some cases, on the applicant’s country of origin. The number of nonimmigrant visas issued for certain countries may be more or less depending on the number that was issued the previous year.
What is A T-1 Visa?
The T-1 visa was created by the United States government as a result of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This purpose of this type of visa is to protect victims of human trafficking, the sex trade or forced labor, who are physically present in the United States as a result of such trafficking.
What Qualifies and Human Trafficking under a T Visa?
Human trafficking under United States laws is defined based on the 2000 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Supress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons. The elements of this crime fall into three categories:
- Process, which may include one of the following done to an individual:
- harboring; or
- Ways and means, which includes:
- deception; or
- abuse of power;
- Goal, which may include:
- violence and sexual exploitation;
- forced labor;
- involuntary servitude;
- debt bondage; or
An adult victim of human trafficking must show that the crime involved at least one element from each category listed above. A child victim of human trafficking must only show one element from the process category and one element from the goal category.
For example, if an adult female was promised a job as a nanny and a work permit, or work papers, in the United States, but upon arrival, her passport was confiscated and she was forced to care for children for very little income, she would qualify as a victim of human trafficking. In this example, the woman was recruited and brought into the United States by fraud, deception, and abuse of power with the goal of involuntary servitude and forced labor.
What is Required To Apply for a T-1 Visa?
In order to qualify for a T visa, the applicant must be present in the United States as a result of human trafficking. In other words, in most cases, the applicant must demonstrate that but for the actions of the perpetrator of the human trafficking, they would not have been present in the Untied States.
However, it is not necessary to show that the applicant knew they would be subjected to any goal of human trafficking upon their arrival. For example, if they were persuaded to come to the United States for some other reason but later discovered the real intention of the perpetrator was to exploit them for cheap or unpaid labor, they are in the United States as a result of human trafficking.
In order to receive a T-1 visa, an individual must have had contact with law enforcement. This could include reporting a crime or responding to questions.
If the individual has interacted with state or local law enforcement, a federal law enforcement agency must also be alerted in order for them to obtain their T visa. This is because only federal agencies can investigate trafficking.
How do I Apply for a T-1 Visa?
To apply for a T-1 visa, an individual must complete Form I-914, the Application for T Nonimmigrant Status Form. The requirements of a Form I-914 include:
- The correct fee or a request for a waiver of the fee;
- Current photos;
- A fingerprint fee; and
- Evidence that the applicant would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States.
May My Spouse or Children Be Admitted to the U.S. under a T-1 Visa?
If an individual has applied for or holds a T-1 visa, they may also apply to have their immediate family members admitted to the United States. The applicant must show that they would suffer extreme hardship if these family members were not permitted to join them.
For How Long Is the T-1 Visa Valid?
A T-1 visa is valid for 3 years from the date of which it was issued. This type of visa is non-renewable. However, the applicant may still apply for permanent resident status within the 90 days that follow the visa expiration.
What are the Differences Between T and U Visas?
Both T and U visas were created by Congress in the United States to encourage victims of certain types of serious crimes to cooperate with law enforcement officials who are prosecuting the offenders. There are only certain types of crimes that qualify an applicant for a T or U visa. However, both include the crime of human trafficking for an applicant to qualify.
There are several important differences between the two types of visas. The applicant will need to provide different types of evidence for each to demonstrate to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that they are eligible for either type of visa. An attorney can assist an individual in determining whether they have a stronger case for a T visa or for a U visa.
One important example is that a T visa applicant must have been brought to the United States as a result of human trafficking. A U visa applicant, on the other hand, may have been in the United States for another reason and was then subjected to human trafficking or another crime.
Another important difference is the extent to which the applicant must cooperate with law enforcement. Both visa applicants may not refuse reasonable requests to cooperate with law enforcement officials who are investigating and prosecuting the human trafficking crime.
However, some T visa applicants are not required to cooperate with law enforcement if they are a minor child, under 18 years old, or they are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma.
Do I Need A Lawyer to Get a T-1 Visa?
It is essential to have the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer for any T-1 visa issues you may have. Your lawyer can review your application and ensure it is accurate and complete, which will expedite the approval process.
It is important to note that in the event you do not meet the qualifications for a T-1 visa, your lawyer may be able to advise you on other visas you may qualify for and assist you with the application process. United States immigration laws are complex and constantly changing, so your lawyer is an essential part of the application process.