Highlights of April 2023 Engagement with USCIS on T Visas

On April 17, 2023, CAST moderated a panel focused on T visas with representatives from the USCIS Office of Policy & Strategy (OP&S) and the Vermont Service Center (VSC) at the annual Freedom Network Conference. Key takeaways for T visa practitioners are as follows:

Processing, receipt issuance, & administrative issues

  • OP&S recognized the negative impact of receipt issuance delays on vulnerable populations and indicated that the delays are attributable to resource constraints and to delayed fee waiver adjudications. OP&S indicated that VSC has recently hired additional staff to help reduce data entry backlogs and that there has been a reduction in data entry backlog for all 8 USC § 1367-protected form types currently pending at VSC.  
    • CAST COMMENT: At a previous engagement, USCIS indicated that if a receipt notice has not been issued within 30-60 days of receipt of the filing, then representatives may submit an inquiry with the hotline ([email protected]) to check on the status.
  • The HART Service Center is currently in early operational stages for onboarding staff. There is currently no information on when future case types will be adjudicated by HART or if I-914 applications will be moved to HART. It is USCIS’s hope that moving I-918s, VAWA I-360s, and I-601As to HART will improve customer service to I-914 applicants, as well.
  • USCIS’s computer system deals with each receipt individually, meaning that whatever safe address or G-28 is associated with a particular form is self-contained to that form and an individual could have different representatives for different forms.

Communication with VSC

  • USCIS reported that current response times to hotline inquiries are within 14-21 days. Legal representatives who have not received a response may submit a second inquiry after 45 days, including “SECOND REQUEST” in the subject line of the email.
  • If an emergent situation arises, expedited processing may be requested by emailing the hotline, putting “EXPEDITE REQUEST” in the subject line. VSC indicated that when a legal representative emails the hotline with “EXPEDITE REQUEST” in the subject line, the case gets filtered over to a supervisor, who reviews the request diligently. If an expedite request is denied, the supervisor usually checks with others to get a concurrence.
  • To communicate to VSC a change in attorney address or an address issue, legal representatives should contact the hotline with the receipt numbers and a copy of the G-28, using the subject line “ADDRESS CHANGE” or “ADDRESS ISSUE” to flag for USCIS’s customer service officers.

VSC filing tips

  • VSC indicated that including a table of contents with I-914 filings can be useful, especially if the evidence is extensive, as well as a cover letter explaining the relevancy of the evidence. When responding to an RFE or a NOID, include the RFE or NOID at the top of the response, which helps ensure the response is timely matched up with the file. Evidence that was submitted in the initial filing does not need to be resubmitted at the RFE or NOID stage.
    • CAST COMMENT: Note that CAST does not recommend that legal representatives include extensive evidence with T visa filings, nor is extensive evidence typically necessary for a grant. More information on CAST’s recommendations regarding evidence in T visa cases, including a T visa checklist, can be found here.

Continued presence-related filings

  • VSC currently takes up to four business days to adjudicate continued presence-related filings submitted by a federal law enforcement agency. It can take up to two weeks for the survivor’s I-94 and EAD to be received back by the requesting law enforcement agency. If law enforcement needs to speak with VSC directly regarding a CP application, they can email [email protected].

Fee waivers

  • When an I-192 is being submitted in response to a request for evidence or with an I-290B and is accompanied by a fee waiver, it is helpful if the applicant notes that the form is being submitted with a fee waiver that requires adjudication. If questions arise regarding benefits denied because of a delayed fee waiver adjudication, legal representatives should contact the hotline
    • CAST COMMENT: CAST suggests indicating in bold letters on a cover page and/or cover letter that a time-sensitive I-192 and I-912 are being filed with an RFE response or I-290B. For example, “Response to RFE for EAC9999999999, includes I-192 and I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. Please review I-912 expeditiously.” CAST also suggests that supervisory attention be requested via the hotline if a denial results from a delayed fee waiver adjudication and that legal representatives prepare to timely file an I-290B in case a hotline response is not received in time.


  • OP&S is continuing to work with the Department of State on the issue of biometrics and consular processing delays facing T derivative applicants abroad but has no specific updates at this time.
  • Legal representatives requesting disability accommodations for a T applicant in the U.S. as part of the new mobile biometrics process announced in March 2023 (Vol. 1, Part C, Ch. 2 of the Policy Manual) may request a mobile biometrics appointment via uscis.gov/accommodations. Pro se applicants seeking this accommodation may use the same website. Such requests should be made as soon as possible after a biometrics appointment notice has been issued.

Applicants in removal/custody

  • For applicants in removal, in custody, or with a final order of removal, ICE or OIL have the option of requesting expedited adjudication via an email account established specifically for this purpose.
    • CAST COMMENT: This email address is not currently publicly available.

Waivers of inadmissibility

  • For a ground of inadmissibility that existed at the time of I-914 adjudication but was not waived, the legal representative can contact the hotline to request that USCIS review the original I-192. An I-601 would be submitted in conjunction with a I-485 for grounds that were accrued after T nonimmigrant status was granted.
    • CAST COMMENT: Please review CAST’s advisory, Waivers of Inadmissibility in T Visa Cases, for advice on how to approach waivers in T visa cases and how to request amendment of a previously granted I-192.

Law enforcement cooperation

  • VSC clarified that despite multiple regulatory references to reasons why USCIS might contact the law enforcement agency to which a trafficking survivor reported their victimization, T visa adjudicators do not contact law enforcement directly. Rather, if USCIS has reason to believe there are fraud or national security concerns in a specified filing, fraud detection officers would generally contact the relevant law enforcement agency to request additional information.

Derivatives, consular processing, & admission

  • Once an I-914A is approved, VSC physically ships a copy of the I-914A and I-192, if applicable, to the Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). Legal representatives who believe that an approved I-914A and/or I-192 were not sent to KCC can contact the hotline.
  • T derivatives who entered the U.S. from abroad must provide evidence of lawful admission such as an I-94 or passport admission stamp. An I-797 is not sufficient evidence of admission for T derivatives who entered the U.S. from abroad. If USCIS cannot verify the admission based on the information provided, it may issue an RFE.
    • CAST COMMENT: Because a T nonimmigrant must show evidence of lawful admission and that they continue to hold T status at the time of filing for adjustment of status, legal representatives should ensure that derivative clients have a valid I-94 which accurately indicates the date, class, and duration of admission. If no I-94 is available for the derivative who entered from abroad or if the I-94 contains an error, legal representatives should utilize the deferred inspections process to obtain or correct the I-94 as soon as possible. More information on the deferred inspections process can be found here.
  • If a T derivative abroad enters the U.S. without inspection after I-914A approval instead of consular processing and being admitted at a port-of-entry, they must file a new I-914A or leave the U.S., go through consular processing, and reenter with a T visa issued in their passport. Simply filing an I-192 will not cure the lack of proper admission into T nonimmigrant status. USCIS indicated it cannot amend an I-914A in this situation, as if the applicant were in the U.S. at the time of approval.
  • If a T derivative applicant enters the U.S. while the I-914A is pending, the legal representative should contact VSC to let USCIS know the individual is now in the U.S. In this situation, if the derivative has triggered an inadmissibility ground, they will also need to request a waiver via an I-192.


  • From USCIS’s perspective, there is inherent risk in traveling on advance parole as USCIS is not the agency that readmits individuals into the U.S., and USCIS does not have control over CBP. Because USCIS does not make the determination of whether to readmit a T nonimmigrant after they travel, USCIS’s guidance publicly cautions against traveling without permanent residence status.
    • CAST COMMENT: More information on travel considerations for T-1 nonimmigrants may be found here, and a sample travel advisement may be found here.

Extensions of status

  • VSC will not reject or deny an I-539 seeking extension of T status simply because it was filed more than 90 days prior to the expiration of the present validity period. There is no specific date that would be “too early.”
  • A T-1 nonimmigrant who has already filed for adjustment of status and received an automatic extension of status under 8 CFR § 214.11(l)(7) may email the hotline to request amended approval notices for T derivative applicants abroad so they can complete consular processing.
    • CAST COMMENT: To be issued a T entry visa, which allows travel to the U.S. and admission as a T nonimmigrant, derivative applicants abroad require a currently valid I-797. Derivative I-914A approval notices are not automatically updated when a T-1 files for adjustment of status and receives an automatic extension. Therefore, legal representatives must request updated approval notices from VSC.

Adjustment of status

  • Adjustment of status applications are adjudicated on a first in, first out basis.
  • VSC stated that there is no process by which a T-based adjustment applicant can currently request that an I-485 application be placed in abeyance. Filing of the I-485 indicates that the individual is seeking adjudication of the benefit. If a T-1 principal wishes to remain in T nonimmigrant status beyond the validity period on the original approval, they may file an I-539 to request extension of status based on exceptional circumstances.
  • Based on the statute and regulations, in order to be eligible for adjustment of status before holding T nonimmigrant status for three years, an applicant must establish that there was an investigation or prosecution and a DOJ opinion that said investigation or prosecution is complete. These requirements may be met even if the applicant did not specifically cooperate in that investigation or prosecution—for example, if the applicant claimed a cooperation exemption, but there was still an investigation or prosecution and DOJ has issued a letter indicating that it is now complete. What constitutes an “investigation” is up to DOJ; USCIS does not independently make a determination as to what constitutes an investigation or whether an investigation or prosecution is complete.
    • CAST COMMENT: More information on obtaining a letter from DOJ’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU) for early adjustment under 8 CFR § 245.23(a)(3) may be found here.
  • A T nonimmigrant who has adjusted to permanent residence and needs an ADIT (I-551) stamp as evidence of their permanent residence may call the USCIS Contact Center to request an appointment to appear in person to receive the stamp. T nonimmigrants who have adjusted to permanent resident status are currently ineligible to receive a mailed ADIT stamp as part of the new process announced by USCIS in March 2023.

**Note that the red text throughout this blog post indicates a clickable hyperlink.