S Informant

S (Persons Providing Information on Crimes and Terrorism / Material Witnesses) Visa

The S visa is a nonimmigrant visa that applies to foreign nationals who provide critical and reliable information for a successful investigation and prosecution of a criminal or terrorist organization. Currently, the Congress only gives 200 visas per year for persons providing critical and reliable information concerning a criminal group and an additional 50 visas are allocated for individuals who provide critical and reliable information regarding terrorist organizations and who qualified for Department of State’s rewards program. Family members – spouse, parents, and children – of the informants or witnesses are also eligible to enter the U.S. under derivative S visa and they do not count against the numerical limit.

There are two types of S visas.

a. A person may qualify for an S-5 visa if:

  • They possess reliable information regarding a crime or the pending commission of a crime;
  • They are willing to share this information with law enforcement or testify in court; and
  • Their presence is necessary to secure a successful investigation and/or prosecution of the case.

b. A person may qualify for an S-6 visa if:

  • They possess reliable information regarding a terrorist organization or terrorist plot;
  • They are willing to share this information with law enforcement or testify in court; and
  • They are eligible to receive an award from the State Department for providing the information.
Self-Petitions and Adjustment of Status
 
The Immigration and Nationality Act has provisions for self-petitioning individuals who meet the requirements of the law. Self-petitioners include: battered spouses and children; battered parents; spouses, parents and children of servicemen killed in combat; widows and widowers; and certain Cuban spouses.

Self-petition is available also in the employment-based context. Aliens with extraordinary abilities who intend to engage in the occupation in which they have reached the pinnacle of excellence, as well as aliens who will work in occupations that will serve the national interest may self-petition.

Only a federal or state law enforcement agency or a U.S. Attorney’s office may submit a request for permanent residence as an S nonimmigrant on behalf of a witness or informant. The requesting agency must also be the same agency that initially requested S nonimmigrant status on behalf of the individual. Qualifying family members of the principal S nonimmigrant may also be eligible to apply for a green card.

Application Process

S nonimmigrants must go through a two-step process to apply for a green card.

  1. File Form I-854, Interagency Alien Witness and Informant Record.

This form is to be completed by the federal or state law enforcement agency or U.S. Attorney’s Office that initially filed for the S nonimmigrant status on behalf of the individual.

Evidence that the witness or informant has fulfilled his or her obligations as an S nonimmigrant and provided information about all potential grounds of inadmissibility must be included with the completed and signed Form I-854 application. Failure to disclose all grounds of inadmissibility may result in the alien being removed (deported) from the United States. For more information on the grounds of inadmissibility for S visa nonimmigrants, please see the Form I-854 instructions.

  1. After Form I-854 is approved, file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Applicants should check box “h” in part 2 of the I-485 application and write “S Nonimmigrant” or “S-Qualified Family Member” on the line next to box “h.”