T Visa Lawyers in Houston Helping You Move Forward
Human trafficking is on the rise in the United States, with an 84 percent increase in the number of people prosecuted for human trafficking from 2011 to 2020. Seventy-two percent of U.S. human trafficking victims are immigrants. If you are a victim of human trafficking and don’t have legal status in the United States, we can help.
If you are a trafficking victim who has been threatened by your abuser with deportation, a T visa can help you get legal status in the United States so you can start to rebuild your life and move forward. Contact the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC to talk to one of our immigration attorneys who can offer you help in the Houston area.
How Does a T Visa Work?
The T visa was created with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000. The T visa gives victims of human trafficking an option to be able to stay legally in the country on a temporary basis — although they may be able to apply for permanent residency later on — and assist law enforcement with the investigation of their traffickers. To be eligible for a T visa, you need to be a victim of sex trafficking or labor trafficking. You must also be currently physically residing in the United States or a qualifying territory or port of entry and be admissible. If you aren’t sure if you would be disqualified on grounds of inadmissibility, talk to an immigration attorney because there is a waiver option for certain circumstances.
What Do I Need to Apply for a T Visa?
To apply for a T visa, you will need to submit the proper paperwork, which includes Form I-914 and a personal statement that details your experience with trafficking. You will also need to show proof that you have cooperated with law enforcement by submitting the Supplement B form with your application for T Nonimmigrant status. Other proof could include court transcriptions and other legal documents, articles detailing your case in the news, and affidavits from credible sources. Once your application has been submitted, it can take over a year for the application to be processed. If you need assistance in the meantime to stay safe, talk to an attorney about your options.
How Long Does a T Visa Last?
If you are granted a T visa, you have legal residence in the United States for 4 years. To extend your stay, you will need to ask for an extension or apply for permanent legal residency. Extensions may be available if you can show that your presence is necessary to the continued investigation or prosecution of your trafficker or that you have “exceptional circumstances.” There is a lot of gray room when it comes to what qualifies as exceptional circumstances, so if you think you want to use this path, it’s important to work closely with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you.
Am I Eligible to Work With a T Visa?
Yes, you can work legally in the United States with a T visa. Once your visa has been approved, you will be sent an Employment Authorization Document that you can use to show employers that you are legally eligible for work in the United States. A T visa also makes you eligible for some state and federally-funded benefits, such as assistance with housing, food, and learning English, which can make it easier for you to get on your feet and live independently as you start your new life.
Your past doesn’t have to define your future. Take the first step toward a new life by finding out if you qualify for a T visa. Our team of attorneys can help you understand whether you are eligible and walk you through the process, from application for the T visa to possibly even getting a Green Card later on. Schedule your appointment today by calling 281-606-0800.