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Wage and Hour Division

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

U and T Visa Certifications

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 created two types of visas available for certain victims of crimes:

  • U nonimmigrant visas provide legal status to victims of an enumerated list of “qualifying criminal activities” who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse, and possess information concerning that crime, and who have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement or government officials.
  • T nonimmigrant visas provide legal status to certain victims of human trafficking who assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of trafficking crimes.

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will consider completing U visa certifications where the following conditions are met: 1) the qualifying criminal activity arises in the context of an employment relationship or work environment and there is a credible allegation of a violation of a law that WHD enforces related to the work environment or employment relationship; 2) it has detected violations of any one of the following eight qualifying criminal activities: involuntary servitude, peonage, trafficking, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, extortion, fraud in foreign labor contracting, or forced labor; and 3) the petitioner has demonstrated that he or she has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement officials in any investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity.

WHD will consider completing a T visa certification where the following conditions are met: (1) WHD has detected a severe form of trafficking in persons; (2) the trafficking activity arises in the context of a work environment or an employment relationship; and (3) there is a credible allegation of a violation of a law that WHD enforces related to the work environment or employment relationship.

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decide whether to grant a request for a U or T visa. For more information about U and T visas, please visit DHS’s web site at: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes.

In 2011, WHD first began to complete U visa certifications, when appropriate, for victims of five qualifying crimes detected in connection with its workplace investigations (involuntary servitude, peonage, trafficking, obstruction of justice and witness tampering). In April 2015, WHD began exercising its authority to certify applications for trafficking victims seeking T visas and added three additional qualifying criminal activities (extortion, forced labor, and fraud in foreign labor contracting) in its certification of U visa requests, fulfilling a commitment made in November 2014 as part of the Administration’s announcement of Executive Actions.

Resources

To request a certification contact your local WHD regional office.