A T visa is a type of visa allowing certain victims of human trafficking and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the United States if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators.
The United States government estimates that each year up to 50,000 people are trafficked illegally into the United States against their will, mostly women and children who are brought as sex slaves. As a response, it enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTVPA), which, among other things, allows such people to apply for 3-year temporary visas that lead to permanent resident status. In 2006, Congress modified 8 CFR 214.11(p) to now have the T-visa to be for 4 years. Although 5,000 are available per year, only 2,000 had been issued as of January, 2009.
- T-1 visas are available to people who fall under these criteria:
- came to the United States illegally to engage in commercial sex work, involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery
- committed commercial sex acts or agreed to come to the United States as a result of force, fraud, or coercion
- would suffer extreme hardship if deported
- report their trafficking crime to federal authorities and, if at least 15 years old, help with investigations and prosecutions. With the 2006 modification, the required compliance with law enforcement was deemed not fit if the victim would undergo any increased trauma. This is better known as the "trauma exception".
- must include an endorsement from a law enforcement agency included in the T-1 visa application (if the agency chooses to not include an endorsement, the victim must provide sufficient secondary evidence)
Related visas include:
- T-2 visas - spouses of T-1 applicants
- T-3 visas - children of T-1 applicants
- T-4 visas - parents of T-1 applicants who are children
- T-5 visas - under-18 unmarried siblings of T-1 applicants
- "Department of Justice issues T visa to protect women, children and all victims of human trafficking". United States Department of Justice. January 24, 2002. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- Mark P. Lagon. "Mark P. Lagon: Law and Morality of Human Trafficking". Fora.TV.
- VTVPA - text of statute
- DOJ issues regulations for T visas, available to victims of trafficking - National Immigration Law Center article
-  - Identification and Legal Advocacy for Trafficking Survivors