Congress created both “U” and “T” visas to encourage victims of certain serious crimes to cooperate with law enforcement officials who are prosecuting criminal offenders. Both visas provide the ability for principal applicants to apply for derivative visas for certain qualifying family members. In addition, U and T-Visa holders (and their derivative family members) may apply to adjust their status in the U.S. to Permanent Resident Status (Green Card).
USCIS may find an individual eligible for a U-Visa if the victim:
- Is the direct or indirect victim of qualifying criminal activity
- Has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim
- Has information about the criminal activity
- Was helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges
- Admissible to the United States
The U-visa allows eligible victims to temporarily remain and work in the United States, generally for four years.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery. Understanding that human trafficking victims without legal status may otherwise be reluctant to help in the investigation or prosecution, Congress created the T nonimmigrant status (“T visa”) program.
USCIS may find an individual eligible for a T-Visa if the victim:
- Is or was a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons (which may include sex or labor trafficking),
- Is in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or at a U.S. port of entry due to trafficking;
- Has complied with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking;
- Would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States.
The T-Visa allows eligible victims to temporarily remain and work in the U.S., generally for four years.
Deciding whether to apply for a U-Visa or a T-Visa can be challenging therefore, it is advisable to always consult an experienced immigration attorney. For details and assistance in filing for U-Visa or T-Visa status, please schedule an initial consultation with Mokolo Law Firm by selecting one of the contact options below.