The S nonimmigrant visa category, also commonly referred to as “snitch” status, is reserved for a foreign national who has come to the United States temporarily as an alien witness or informant. The regulations state that ” [a]n alien may be classified as an S-5 alien witness or informant under the provisions of section 101(a)(15)(S)(i) of the Act if, in the exercise of discretion pursuant to an application on Form I-854 by an interested federal or state law enforcement authority (“LEA”), it is determined that the alien: (i) Possesses critical reliable information concerning a criminal organization or enterprise; (ii) Is willing to supply, or has supplied, such information to a federal or state LEA; and (iii) Is essential to the success of an authorized criminal investigation or the successful prosecution of an individual involved in the criminal organization or enterprise.” 8 CFR Sec. 214.2(t).
Before pursuing this visa category as an option for a client is strongly recommended that the practitioner inquire with the appropriate LEA regarding the potential use of this nonimmigrant visa category. Further, since this type of visa entails criminal issues the practitioner should align him/herself with a qualified criminal counselor.