Foreign national adults in the United States who have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons are eligible for certain benefits and services under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Certification Letters let individuals who have experienced trafficking and meet certain eligibility rules apply for the same benefits and services as refugees.
U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents who have experienced trafficking do not need Certification or Eligibility Letters to be eligible for similar services. You can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline for further assistance.
We issue Certification Letters to foreign national adults who have experienced trafficking after receiving notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granting a person Continued Presence, or a T visa, or that a bona fide T visa application has not been denied.*
When you are ready, use the Shepherd Case Management System to submit a Request for Certification (RFC). You can use the RFC to securely initiate a comprehensive case management referral and/or a Certification Letter. Contact us by email or 866-401-5510 with any questions about the Certification process.
*A bona fide T visa application is different from an application receipt from USCIS/DHS. A bona fide T visa application is a formal notice from USCIS/DHS that the application has been through initial review and was found to be complete, properly filed, contains proper evidence, and is clear of fraud. An application receipt from USCIS/DHS does not make an individual eligible. A foreign national adult must have Continued Presence, a T Visa, or a bona fide T Visa application to request an HHS Certification letter. Learn more about bona fide determinations on the USCIS website.
Assisting a minor? Learn about Eligibility Letters.
If you or someone you know has already received a Certification Letter, follow the steps in the adult certification handout.
Family members of individuals who have experienced trafficking that have their own derivative T visas (T-2 through T-6) are immediately eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. They do not need any letter from HHS.