Currently, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is considered to be indicated for children and adolescents with high-risk or relapsed T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL); however, the outcomes are unsatisfactory. Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are the main receptors on natural killer (NK) cells that play an important role in the graft-versus-leukemia effect after allo-HSCT. In allo-HSCT, when the recipient lacks a donor KIR-ligand (KIR-ligand mismatch in the graft-versus-host [GVH] direction), donor NK cells will be activated against recipient cells. KIR-ligand mismatch in the GVH direction improves outcomes after unrelated cord blood transplantation (UCBT) with acute myeloid leukemia, but the effect in T-ALL is unclear. We evaluated the impact of KIR-ligand mismatch in the GVH direction on the transplantation outcomes of children and adolescents with T-ALL who received UCBT. We conducted a retrospective study using a nationwide registry of the Japanese Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Patients diagnosed with T-ALL, aged 0 to 19 years, and who underwent first UCBT between 1999 and 2017 were included. A total of 91 patients were included in this study. In all, 23 (25.3%) percent of patients had KIR-ligand mismatch in the GVH direction. The 5-year leukemia-free survival (LFS) and overall survival (OS) rates after UCBT were 65.8% and 69.6%, respectively. In a multivariate analysis, KIR-ligand mismatch in the GVH direction was associated with a significant reduction in the relapse rate (hazard ratio [HR], 0.19; P =.002), resulting in better LFS (HR, 0.18; P =.010) and OS (HR, 0.26; P =.048) without increasing non-relapse mortality (NRM; HR, 1.90; P =.264). The cumulative incidence of GVH disease (GVHD) did not differ between patients with and without KIR-ligand mismatch (grade II-IV acute GVHD, 39.1% versus 36.8%, P =.648, grade III-IV acute GVHD, 13.0% versus 11.8%, P =.857, and chronic GVHD, 26.1% versus 22.9%, P =.736, respectively). Furthermore, acute and chronic GVHD were not associated with good patient outcomes. Notably, no relapse was observed in patients who received KIR-ligand mismatched UCBT in complete remission. KIR-ligand mismatch in the GVH direction improved LFS and decreased relapse rates without increasing NRM in children and adolescents with T-ALL who received UCBT, which was not mediated by GVHD.