THE Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”) has issued a T nonimmigrant visa to provide temporary immigration benefits to aliens who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons, and to their immediate family members, as deemed appropriate.
To qualify for T-1 nonimmigrant status, an applicant must demonstrate that he or she 1) is physically present in the United Sates, American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands as a result of trafficking; 2) is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons; 3) would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal, and has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation and prosecution of acts of trafficking in persons, unless the applicant is less than fifteen (15) years old.
To establish that he or she is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she was brought to the United States either:
a) For the purpose of a commercial sex act, which act was either induced by force, fraud or coercion, or occurred when the applicant had not reached 18 years of age, or
b) For the purpose of labor or services induced by force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjecting the applicant to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt, bondage or slavery.
The applicant will be encouraged to raise all arguments and to document all elements of this or her claim, including allegations of extreme hardship, in his or her application.
The applicant may also be required to provide a Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons. Although that certification is not necessary to prove the claim, the endorsement, however, of a federal law enforcement officer constitutes presumptive proof that the applicant is a victim and has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation and prosecution (of such activities).
If the applicant cannot provide the declaration from the law enforcement officer, then an explanation describing attempts to obtain the certification and why the request was refused may be required instead.
Family members of an applicant for T-1 nonimmigrant status may also file for a derivative status. Documentation of the claimed relationship must be submitted to prove derivative family relationships.
All applicants and their family members may apply for a work authorization pending the approval of the petition. Applicants and their family members will be requested to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks. In addition, the INS may require the applicant to appear for a personal interview.