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    Are There Specific Requirements for T Visa Holders to Adjust Their Status?

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    Requirements for a T Visa to Apply for Permanent Resident Status

    A T visa is a nonimmigrant visa option that is available for trafficking victims who are already in the United States. Obtaining a T visa allows them to stay in the United States for a beginning period of four years as long as they cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the trafficking crimes. However, a T visa does not give someone permanent resident status, and those who wish to stay in the United States after the initial four years will need to apply for a Green Card. To be approved for a Green Card, also called an adjustment of status, you will need to meet all of the following requirements.

    Have a Valid T Visa Status

    To be able to apply for a Green Card as a T visa holder, your visa must still be in good standing. T visas are granted for a period of four years, but there are some situations in which they can be extended. If you have not yet applied for a T visa, you can do so by talking with an immigration attorney and filing out Form I-914, which is the Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office.

    Maintained a Continuous Physical Presence in the United States

    To be eligible to apply for a Green Card, you generally must have maintained three years of continuous physical presence within the United States. These three years start from the date you were granted a T visa. However, in some cases, the U.S. Attorney General can determine that your continuous period has ended before the three years. Continuous physical presence is defined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office as being physically in the United States for at least 18 months of the three-year period. You generally also need to have been physically present in the United States for the three months prior to filing for an adjustment of status.

    Demonstrated Good Moral Character

    One of the requirements to apply for a Green Card is to show that you have demonstrated that you are of good moral character during the time that you have had the T visa. While abiding by the rules of your visa and the laws of the United States is important, there are other things that can enhance your application in this regard. Showing that you have obtained and maintained a job, advanced your education, been involved in the community, or have established family and community ties can all reflect this. Your attorney can help you determine what evidence to submit to fulfill this requirement, such as personal statements, school transcripts, and legal records.

    Be Admissible to the United States

    To be eligible for a Green Card, you must be legally admissible to the United States. For example, you must undergo a health screening to ensure that you don’t have any communicable health conditions or any mental health issues that could make you a danger to others. You must have a clean criminal record and not be a user of any illegal drugs or substances. You cannot have any previous unlawful entry attempts or immigration violations, and you must be able to show that you won’t be a public charge. In some cases, it’s possible to fill out a waiver of inadmissibility if you have one of the previous factors that’s impacting your ability to apply for a Green Card.

    Met All Other Requirements

    In addition to the basic requirements above, you must also meet one of the following criteria to apply for a Green Card as a T visa holder:

    • You must have cooperated with law enforcement regarding the trafficking activities, and this must be confirmed by a law enforcement agent.
    • You must show that you would be in danger of severe harm if you were to be deported.
    • You were a minor under the age of 18 at the time you were a victim of trafficking.

    You must also ensure that you provide any and all relevant information on your Green Card application. This may require personal statements, documentation from your home country, and other records to show that you are eligible for a Green Card. Keep in mind that it can take more than two years, in some cases, to get a Green Card approved. If you have concerns about the timeline or what you should do while waiting for your application to be reviewed, talk to an immigration attorney.

    What If I Don’t Meet the Requirements?

    If you don’t meet all of the requirements above or aren’t sure if you do, the first step should be to talk to an immigration attorney. They will be able to review your case and provide you with legal counsel that’s specific to your situation. They may be able to explain how the waiver process works or suggest another visa that may be a better fit in the meantime until you are eligible for a Green Card. Working with an attorney before you submit your application can increase your chances of success and ensure that you don’t waste valuable time and money applying for an adjustment of status if you don’t meet the requirements.

    Applying for an adjustment of status can help you have peace of mind and open up more opportunities in the United States. If you’re currently approved with a T visa, contact the Elizabeth Rosario Law PLC to find out the benefits of applying for a Green Card and how to start the process. Call (616) 530-0101 to schedule an appointment to speak with an immigration attorney about your status.

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