Old Trafficking Case

My client's case is really old - can they still show physical presence on account of trafficking?

Important Update: The T Final Rule was released on April 30, 2024, updating regulations impacting T and T AOS applicants. These changes will be effective starting August 28, 2024. As a result, our resources may be temporarily out of date.

CAST is actively working on updating our trainings, advisories, and other materials to reflect the new regulations. We appreciate your patience during this transition period and encourage you to review the new regulations and our advisory, Overview of the 2024 T Visa Final Rulewhile we update our resources.

Thank you for your understanding.


There is no filing deadline or time limit for filing the T visa, no matter how long it has been since the survivor escaped their trafficking victimization.

However, an applicant may face challenges when the date of filing the application is more than 5 years after the escape from trafficking. Over the past few years, attorneys have reported that the Vermont Service Center (the office within USCIS that adjudicates T visa applications) has increased its scrutiny on trafficking cases when the date of escape is more than 5 years prior to the date of filing.

If the gap of time between the date of escape and the filing of the T visa is significant, the applicant will have to demonstrate how the trafficking victimization caused them to remain in the U.S. and how their delay in coming forward is reasonable. The applicant will need to show the trafficking-related barriers that contributed to the delay in coming forward, such as lack of self-identification, fear of retaliation, or trauma.  

The larger the gap of time between the escape and the filing, the more challenging it is to demonstrate that the applicant has remained in the U.S. on account of the trafficking. For that reason, it’s important to identify all the barriers the client faced in coming forward. It also becomes critical to enroll the applicant in trafficking-specific services to address the trauma that contributed to the delay in reporting their victimization. 

Additionally, it may be harder to find a law enforcement agency willing to accept a report for an older case. We suggest contacting local advocates regularly working on trafficking cases to get a sense of how law enforcement is treating these cases. The links here can help you identify non-profit legal services providers in your area.

For more information, check out these additional resources: