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Eligibility Letters

Chart shows gradual increase in Eligibility letters issued since FY 2001. Accessible charts can be found at https://www.justice.Foreign national minors 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. HHS Interim Assistance and Eligibility Letters allow minors who may have or have experienced human trafficking, and meet certain eligibility rules, to apply for the same benefits and services as refugees.

If you are working with a foreign national minor (non-US citizen/legal permanent resident and currently under 18) and have concerns that they may have experienced forced labor or commercial sex at any point in their life, submit a referral through the Shepherd Case Management System

U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents who may have experienced trafficking do not need HHS Letters to be eligible for similar services. They can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) for further assistance by calling 1-888-373-7888.

Assisting a minor?

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If you are assisting a foreign national minor who may have experienced trafficking, contact OTIP Child Protection Specialists at 202-205-4582 or by email during regular business hours to ask questions regarding the process or to discuss potential cases before submission. When you are ready, use the Shepherd Case Management System to submit a Request for Assistance (RFA).

If you encounter problems loading the Shepherd site, please use our backup PDF Request for Assistance form to submit any trafficking concerns on behalf of a foreign national minor. You can password protect and email the form to our Child Protection Specialist team at

OTIP Child Protection Specialists host monthly webinars on Responding to Child Victims of Trafficking. Save the date for the next webinar.

Assisting an adult? Learn about Certification Letters.

Already received a letter?

If you or someone you know has already received an Interim Assistance or Eligibility Letter, follow the steps in the child eligibility handout.

First page of handout, accessible version available in PDF


Here are more resources that can assist:

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 a letter from HHS.

Eligibility Resources

Last Reviewed: September 4, 2020

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