It’s a sad reality that each year, many people are victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking often affects poor, unemployed individuals who are lured in by traffickers through false promises of a steady job or a better life. In addition to becoming trapped in a system of slavery, the victims and their families are subject to other dangers. USCIS has a special program to protect them. With the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) in 2000, the “T” nonimmigrant status was created.

In order to be eligible for a T Visa, applicants must file Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status. In this application, the individual must explain how they were a victim of human trafficking and if they would suffer extreme hardship by being removed from the United States. People under age 21 may file on behalf of a spouse, child, parent, or unmarried sibling under 18. Likewise, people over 21 years of age may apply on behalf of spouses and children.

People and their families may also become victims of mental and/or physical abuse including domestic violence and sexual assault. The U Nonimmigrant Status was created for these individuals. There are many other crimes that qualify under this program such as blackmail, hostage, stalking, murder, kidnapping, and more. In terms of filing on behalf of qualifying family members, the same age guidelines apply to U Visas and T Visas. Both the T Visa and the U Visa allow the applicant to remain in the U.S. and assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of those involved in these crimes.

To qualify for a U visa, it is absolutely essential that you report the crime to the police, and it can help to get additional evidence like a protective order. The family law attorneys at Salmon Haas can help you get a protective order for your own benefit as well as to strengthen your U visa or T visa application.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

If you have been the victim of human trafficking or other violence, you don’t need to seek justice alone. You may be entitled to several benefits and protections under U.S. law. To make sure you are aware of what programs apply to you, enlist the help of the experienced immigration lawyer. We know this may be a scary, vulnerable time for you, so we do everything we can to be a resource and advocate on your behalf. We are fully invested in our clients’ cases – you will not be “just another case file” here. The Salmon-Haas practice is here to guide you through this process. We offer a free, confidential consultation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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