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    S Visa

    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:

    1. Possession of critical, reliable information about a criminal enterprise, operation, or organization;
    2. Willing to supply or has supplied such information to federal law enforcement authorities or federal court;
    3. Will be or has been placed in danger as a result of providing this information; and,
    4. 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.

    CONCLUSION

    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.

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