Final Rule For T Nonimmigrant Status

This rule is effective on Aug. 28, 2024, and applies to benefit requests that are pending or filed on or after that date.

T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa)

A T visa is a type of visa allowing certain victims of human trafficking (which includes both labor trafficking and sex trafficking) and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the United States in T Nonimmigrant status, typically after they report the crime to law enforcement, and agree to help them in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime(s) committed against them. It also allows close family members of the victims to come to the United States legally. There are T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 visas. They are only granted in limited circumstances and only 50-500 have been granted each year since 20031.

The Final Rule

On Dec. 19, 2016, DHS published an interim final rule to respond to public feedback, clarify requirements based on statutory changes, formalize the experience gained from operation of the program for more than 14 years, and amend the regulations as required by intervening legislation2. In July 2021, DHS reopened the public comment period for the 2016 interim rule for 30 days and subsequently extended the deadline for comments. This final rule responds to public comments, clarifies eligibility requirements, and ensures application requirements conform to current law.   

The final rule reflects a victim-centered approach, clarifies the requirements, and introduces provisions to reduce potential barriers to victims. These clarifications will enable USCIS officers to adjudicate more efficiently and effectively. The final rule also improves the program’s integrity by clarifying the reporting and evidence requirements for victims of trafficking, which will better help law enforcement act on reports of trafficking. Key elements of the final rule include: 

  • Updating and clarifying definitions – including serious harm, abuse, and law enforcement agency – to ensure consistency and standards as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended;  
  • Improving program efficiency by clarifying reporting and evidence requirements on the outset to decrease requests for additional evidence;
  • Streamlining law enforcement agencies’ ability to act on reports of trafficking by requiring victims to report instances of trafficking to the correct law enforcement agency of jurisdiction; and
  • Simplifying the bona fide determination and adjudication process, while continuing to uphold fraud prevention measures.

Revised Bona Fide Determination Process

This final rule, announced today, also lays out the framework for considering filings under the bona fide determination process, which includes background checks and case review. USCIS will continue to prioritize adjudications for T nonimmigrant status and, subject to available resources and processing times, consider applications under the bona fide determination process. This process will apply to cases filed on or after the effective date of the rule.

When an individual whose application is deemed bona fide files Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, USCIS will consider whether to grant them deferred action and an Employment Authorization Document while we continue to adjudicate their application for T nonimmigrant status. USCIS recommends that applicants submit a (fee-exempt) Form I-765 at the same time as their Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status.

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