December 09, 2008

USCIS Issue New Rule for Victims of Human Trafficking and Criminal Activity

On December 8, 2008, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an interim (preliminary) final rule that will allow “T” and “U” nonimmigrants to obtain green card, becoming lawful permanent residents. The “T” visa affords nonimmigrant status for people who are victims of a severe form of human trafficking. The “U” visa status is a nonimmigrant status for victims of certain crimes who are willing to assist government officials, including local and state police, in the investigation of the criminal activity.

To apply for an adjustment of status to permanent residence, a “U” nonimmigrant must have been physically present in the United States for an uninterrupted period of at least three years since admitted into the

U.S. Likewise, nonimmigrant individuals in the U.S. under a “T” visa status are required to have three years of continuous presence in the United States or a continuous period during an investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking.The interim final rule is currently available for public review and has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication. The public may submit comments at www.regulations.gov for 60 days following publication. USCIS will address comments in the final rule. To access the interim final rule in its entirety and the USCIS press release and fact sheet about U and T visas, click here.

By Ann Massey Badmus