The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new interim rule today allowing certain visas holders in “T” and “U” classification to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents. The rule also provides for adjustment of status for family members of a principle T or U visa holder.

Certain foreign nationals who are victims of a severe form of human trafficking are eligible for “T” visas. In order for individuals in “T” visa status to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence, the individual must have three years of continuous presence in the U.S. or a continuous period during an investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking.

The “U” visa classification is for victims of certain crimes who are willing to assist government officials in the investigation of the criminal activity. “U” visa holders must be physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least three years since the date of admission to apply for lawful permanent residence. Evidence of continuous physical presence can be provided by college transcripts, employment records, utility bills or other supporting evidence during the requisite three year period.

Individuals with both “T” and “U” visas, must be in valid status at the time they seek to adjust their status. There is a 5,000 annual cap for “T” visa holders, and no numerical cap on adjustment of status for “U” non-immigrants.

The rule becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Please stay tuned for the latest developments.