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T Visa and the Trauma Exception

May, 2015
National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)
The T Nonimmigrant Status, or the T Visa, is a form of temporary immigration relief made available to foreign national victims of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. In order to qualify for the T visa, an applicant must comply with any reasonable request from law enforcement to assist in the investigation or prosecution of their case, unless they are under the age of 18 or are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma. This "trauma exception" is determined by USCIS as part of the T visa application process.
This fact sheet provides an overview of the trauma exception for frontline professionals who work with victims and survivors of human trafficking, but who may not be familiar with this aspect of the T visa. Additionally, it provides trauma-related symptoms that may prompt legal professionals and social service organizations to consider this option and pursue further evaluation with qualified mental health or medical professionals for their clients. For a full list of trafficking indicators and the definition of human trafficking, please visit: