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USCIS Strengthens T Nonimmigrant Visa Program and Protections for Trafficking Victims


WASHINGTON, DC —The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have announced a final rule aimed at fortifying the integrity of the T nonimmigrant status (T visa) to ensure prompt access to protections for eligible victims of human trafficking. The T visa permits certain trafficking victims to stay in the United States for up to four years.

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou emphasized, “We are dedicated to safeguarding victims of human trafficking and minimizing barriers to assistance.” This rule establishes a robust regulatory framework for the T visa program, aligning it with its victim-centered purpose and congressional intent.

Human trafficking, involving force, fraud, or coercion for labor or commercial sex, often preys on vulnerable individuals, including those without lawful immigration status. The final rule clarifies T visa eligibility, simplifies application requirements, and enhances program integrity by reducing reporting and evidentiary hurdles for victims, aiding law enforcement in responding to trafficking reports.

Key provisions include defining terms like serious harm and law enforcement agency, streamlining reporting and evidentiary requirements, and simplifying the adjudication process while maintaining fraud prevention measures.

Building on an interim rule from 2016 and informed by public feedback, this final rule underscores DHS’s commitment to combating human trafficking. The agency’s ongoing initiatives, such as the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking and the Blue Campaign, demonstrate a multifaceted approach involving law enforcement, victim support, intelligence analysis, and public awareness efforts.




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