Do you have relevant information about a crime, the imminent commission of a crime, or a criminal organization?
Are you a foreign citizen willing to provide this information to law enforcement authorities?
If “Yes” is your answer to both of the above questions, you may be eligible for an S-Visa. The S-Visa is for persons who have critical, reliable information about a criminal organization or enterprise and whose presence in the U.S. is essential for successful investigation or prosecution of that organization or business. According to a Congressional Research Service report to Congress (1/19/05), in ten years, more than 900 foreign national informants received S-Visas to assist law enforcement officers in their work against criminals and criminal organizations. Currently, there are 400 S-Visas available each year.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW TO QUALIFY FOR AN S-Visa?
To be eligible for an S-Visa, the foreign national informant must meet the following requirements:
- Possession of critical, reliable information about a criminal enterprise, operation, or organization;
- Willing to supply or has supplied such information to federal law enforcement authorities or federal court;
- Will be or has been placed in danger as a result of providing this information; and,
- Meets other requirements.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE FILING AN S-Visa APPLICATION?
The application must be made on Form I-854, along with evidence of the applicant’s cooperation, the need for his or her presence, grounds of inadmissibility, and factors warranting a favorable exercise of discretion.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE U.S. ON AN S-Visa?
An S-Visa holder can remain in the U.S. for three years.
CAN I APPLY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE ON AN S-Visa?
Yes, if the information provided substantially contributed to the investigation’s success, and/or a Department of State award has been granted.
CAN I CHANGE STATUS FROM AN S-Visa?
No. You can change status to an S-Visa, but you cannot change status from an S-Visa. Most grounds of inadmissibility can be waived.
CAN MY FAMILY MEMBERS ACCOMPANY ME TO THE U.S. ON A U VISA?
Yes. A spouse, children, and parents may accompany or follow or join the S-Visa holder if the government finds it appropriate. Immediate relatives can accompany the beneficiary.
Suppose you have relevant information about a crime or a criminal enterprise and are willing to provide that information to the United States government. In that case, you may be eligible for an S-Visa. Some conditions must be met to qualify for an S-Visa. The family (including spouse, children, and parents) of an S-Visa holder may accompany, follow, or join him or her, given the government’s consent.