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Whether you are an undocumented immigrant who has recently been a victim of human trafficking or a serious crime in South Carolina, you may qualify for either a T visa or U visa if you are willing to help law enforcement officials with their criminal investigation. After maintaining a nonimmigrant status for several years, you may then be eligible for lawful permanent residency or a green card. Due to the complexities of U.S. immigration laws, it is wise to hire a skilled immigration attorney to help you throughout the legal process.
Contact us today at (843) 800-2750 to discuss your case with our firm.
T nonimmigrant status provides victims of trafficking with immigration protection, allowing them to remain in the United States and help the police or any other agency in investigating or prosecuting a human trafficking case.
A T visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the country—and receive certain state and federal benefits and services—for up to four (4) years. However, T visa holders can be eligible for lawful permanent status after three years or after the completion of the trafficking investigation.
Human trafficking is defined as using force, coercion, or fraud to compel people to provide labor or services, which is a form of modern-day slavery. Common forms of human trafficking include labor trafficking and sex trafficking.
The T visa was created in October 2000, after Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. Since traffickers generally take advantage of vulnerable foreign nationals due to lack of immigration status, the T visas protects victims and enables law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute human trafficking.
The following are the eligibility requirements for T nonimmigrant status:
- You are or were a victim of labor or sex trafficking
- You are in the United States or at a port of entry due to trafficking
- You cooperate with a law enforcement department in a criminal investigation
- Show you would suffer severe and unusual harm due to extreme hardship if you were deported
Certain family members may also qualify for T nonimmigrant status, so long as they are in present danger of retaliation as a result of you fleeing from trafficking and cooperating with law enforcement. Family members include your spouse, unmarried children under 21 years old, parents, unmarried siblings under 18 years old, and any children of your qualifying family members.
U nonimmigrant status is given to victims of certain crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse and willing to cooperate with law enforcement officials in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity. Similar to a T visa, a person with a U visa may be eligible for a green card after being continuously and physically present in the U.S. for at least three (3) years.
Qualifying crimes include:
- Sexual assault
- Abusive sexual contact
- Sexual exploitation
- Domestic violence
- False imprisonment
- Felony assault
- Obstruction of Justice
- Witness tampering
- Slave trade
- Other related crimes
The passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act—as well as the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act—gave law enforcement agencies the ability to investigate and prosecute sexual assault, domestic violence, and other serious crimes, while also protecting victims who are willing to aid officials in such criminal investigations and prosecutions.
The following are the eligibility requirements for U nonimmigrant status:
- You are a victim of a qualifying criminal offense
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated federal laws
- You have suffered significant physical or mental abuse because you were a victim of a crime
- You have information about the criminal offense
- You are willing to help law enforcement officials with the criminal investigation
- You are admissible to the U.S. However, if you are not admissible, you may obtain a waiver by filing Form I-192 (Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant)
Certain qualifying family members may obtain a derivative U visa. If you are at least 21 years old, you may petition on behalf of for your spouse or children. If you are under 21, you may petition on behalf of your spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings who are younger than 18 years of age.
Ready to Protect You Today
Due to how complex immigration laws can be, it is wise to hire a skilled immigration attorney to help you throughout the legal process. Do not hesitate to let us protect you against further harm and help you start a new life with your loved ones in the United States.
Call (843) 800-2750 to schedule a consultation. Our legal team provides services in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi.
Given the amount of skill and experience this team has, we pledge to leave no stone unturned and going above and beyond to provide the best immigration services tailored to your needs.
With a large team on hand and English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi language-speaking services available, we aim to provide all the resources you need to make the immigration process easier.
As an immigrant herself, founding attorney Ameneh Maghzi understands the difficulties of immigration and she has made it her mission to make the process as smooth as possible for her clients.
With our sole focus on immigration law, our firm is well equipped to handle a wide range of immigration services.