What is the S Visa?
The S visa is a special type of nonimmigrant visa which is available to a foreign national who has assisted a law enforcement agency as a witness or an informant. This type of visa permits the individual to remain in the U.S. as investigative efforts continue or throughout the prosecution of individuals responsible for the criminal act(s). Even more, once the terms of their cooperation are completed, they may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency.
Who is Eligible to Receive an S Visa?
In order for someone to be eligible for an S visa, they must have important information about a crime which was committed or about a crime which will be committed in the future and they must be willing to share that information with law enforcement officials.
What is the Process?
Only a federal or state law enforcement agency may submit a request on behalf of the witness/informant. The process is initiated by having the appropriate agency completing and filing Form I-854, Interagency Alien Witness and Informant Record with the USCIS. The application must be supplemented with evidence that the witness/informant has completed the terms of their cooperation with law enforcement and further it must provide information about any and all potential grounds of inadmissibility for the witness/informant.
Once Form I-854 is approved, the applicant would be eligible to adjust their status by filing Form I-485, Applicant to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Being the holder of an S-visa grants derivative status to immediate family, which would include a spouse, married or unmarried child, and parents. The immediate family of the S-visa holder would be eligible to apply for their green cards at the same time the S-visa holder becomes eligible.
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