Evidentiary Requirements for T Visas

How much evidence should I include in a T visa application?

The evidentiary standard in T visas is the “any credible evidence” standard, meaning that USCIS must consider any credible evidence submitted for each of the required elements. The adoption of this more liberal evidentiary standard is Congress’ recognition of the barriers victims face in providing primary or corroborative evidence of their trafficking. 

Often the only evidence trafficking survivors have of their victimization is their personal statement, making it the most important evidence in support of the T visa. It is important to note that T visa applicants are under no obligation to supply additional evidence to corroborate the trafficking victimization and cannot be denied for failure to submit any particular piece of evidence. T visa applications are regularly approved with the client declaration serving as the only evidence of the trafficking victimization. 

Legal advocates should be very mindful of which evidence they include in the applicant's T visa filing. While there may be an inclination to want to include as much information as possible, supporting evidence may not actually address the T visa eligibility requirements. For example, in considering whether to submit an employment contract, the attorney should evaluate whether the contract serves as evidence of the trafficking, or whether it is simply evidence of the victim’s employment and therefore, unnecessary. Additionally, trafficking survivors are not required to show harm in the same way that applicants for other forms of relief may have to. As a result, trafficking survivors do not need to submit medical evidence or records. Prior to submitting medical evidence, attorneys should evaluate whether that evidence actually addresses one of the T visa eligibility requirements. 

Note that including additional, unrequired information and evidence with the T visa filing could end up drawing focus away from the trafficking, undermining the legal arguments, or causing undue scrutiny. CAST's T Visa checklist includes the general evidence that we recommend submitting with an initial T visa filing. Requests for evidence (RFEs) or notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) provide an opportunity to submit additional supporting evidence that specifically addresses the adjudicator's concerns with the case. 

For more guidance, we suggest reviewing these additional resources:

  • USCIS Policy Manual, Vol. 3, Part B, Ch. 3.1 (on any credible evidence)
  • USCIS's I-914 Instructions (which include a list of required evidence)
  • ASISTA's Practice Pointers on "Any Credible Evidence"
  • 1998 INS Memorandum discussing any credible evidence in self-petitions filed by victims of abuse 
  • CAST T Visa Checklist
  • CAST AdvisoryPsychological Evaluations in Support of T Visas