From USCIS (10/20/2021):

USCIS announced that it is issuing updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding applications for T nonimmigrant status (or T visas) for victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons.

Policy Highlights
This updated and comprehensive guidance:

  • Provides updated and consolidated information on eligibility requirements, admissibility determinations, evidentiary standards, burdens of proof, travel considerations, and confidentiality protections for T visa applicants.
  • Clarifies that the age-based exemption from the requirement to comply with reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement applies based on the victim’s age at the time of victimization.
  • Explains how USCIS evaluates the connection between the original victimization and the applicant’s continuing presence in the United States when evaluating the physical presence eligibility requirement
  • Clarifies how USCIS evaluates involuntary servitude claims, including conditions of servitude induced by domestic violence, as well as victimization that may occur during a voluntary smuggling arrangement.
  • Defines the concept of harboring.
  • Explains that USCIS is adopting the decision issued by the Ninth Circuit in Medina Tovar v. Zuchowski, a case involving adjudication of petitions for U nonimmigrant status, for nationwide application in T visa adjudication. Therefore, when evaluating a spousal or stepparent and stepchild relationship between the principal applicant and the qualifying family member, USCIS evaluates whether the relationship existed at the time the principal application was favorably adjudicated, rather than when the principal application was filed.
  • Clarifies that principal T-1 nonimmigrants seeking to adjust status may present their Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) reflecting their most recent validity period of T-1 nonimmigrant status, along with the Form I-797 receipt notice, as evidence of employment authorization for 24 months from the expiration date on the Form I-94, unless the Form I-485 is denied or withdrawn.

Congress enacted the Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 to protect victims of trafficking. T nonimmigrant status serves the dual intent of protecting noncitizen victims of trafficking and strengthening the ability of law enforcement to detect, investigate, and prosecute acts of trafficking.

More Information
The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance on the topic. Find the updated guidance at USCIS Policy Manual – Volume 3: Humanitarian Protection and Parole, Part B, Victims of Trafficking and Volume 9: Waivers and Other Forms of Relief, Part O, Victims of Trafficking.

Visit our Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status page for more information.


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