S Visa Assisting a Law Enforcement Agency

An S visa status can be obtained by an individual who is going to assist a law enforcement agency as a witness or informant. The S visa is generally available to persons who otherwise would not qualify to enter the United States or would be deportable. The S visa program is useful for persons who would be in danger in their home countries.  The number of alien witnesses and informants who may be admitted into the United States pursuant to the S Visa Program is limited by law to 200 aliens per fiscal year. The qualifying aliens need to provide critical, reliable information necessary for successful investigation or prosecution of a criminal organization.

Additional 50 aliens per fiscal year may obtain an S visa status holder if they provide critical, reliable information concerning a terrorist organization and who qualify for a reward under the Department of State’s rewards program.

Certain family members (spouses, children, parents) of the principal applicant may also qualify for the S visa and they do not count against the numerical limits.

When the individual has completed the terms and conditions of their S visa classification, a law enforcement agency may submit an application for permanent residence on behalf of such person. The requesting agency must be the same agency that requested S nonimmigrant visa on behalf of that individual.

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