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Form I-8542024-01-11T08:43:50+00:00

Form I-854: A Complete Guide to Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) facilitates various immigration procedures, including applications for permanent residence. One such process is supported by Form I-854, officially titled the Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record. Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) primarily use this form to recommend individuals for the S nonimmigrant status. Individuals eligible for this status include those who have provided reliable information essential to the successful investigation or prosecution of a criminal organization.
The utility of Form I-854 extends beyond the initial recommendation. It also enables individuals in the S nonimmigrant status to apply for an adjustment of status. This adjustment shifts their standing to that of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) under specific circumstances as delineated in section 245(j) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Adherence to the instructions for Form I-854 is paramount. Law enforcement agencies are responsible for completing Part 1 of the form. It is then incumbent upon the applicant to carefully compile the necessary documentation and evidence to advance their application. They must complete, sign, and submit the form according to USCIS guidelines to advance in their quest for permanent residency in the United States.

Overview of Form I-854

Form I-854, commonly known as the Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies in the United States to engage with noncitizen witnesses and informants in a legal capacity.

Purpose of Form I-854

Form I-854 is designed to allow law enforcement agencies to sponsor noncitizen informants and witnesses for an “S” non-immigrant classification. This classification facilitates their lawful entry into the country to assist in investigative or judicial processes. Moreover, Form I-854B is utilized when requesting that a noncitizen in “S” nonimmigrant status be permitted to adjust their status, potentially leading to lawful permanent residency under specific provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for Form I-854 are stringent and intended for a specific subset of individuals:

  • The applicants must be noncitizens who can provide reliable, significant information or testimony regarding criminal or terrorist activities.
  • The law enforcement agency must sponsor individuals, verifying their crucial role in current or potential investigations or prosecutions.
  • Individuals must be eligible for “S” non-immigrant status and, if seeking adjustment of status, must meet additional requirements under section 245(j) of the INA.

Application Process

The application process for Form I-854, Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, is a crucial step for noncitizens in S nonimmigrant status seeking to adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status under specific provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Application Submission Requirements

Noncitizen informants or witnesses must rely on the federal or state law enforcement agency to file Form I-854 on their behalf. The requesting agency must:

  • Complete Form I-854A for initial S nonimmigrant classification or Form I-854B for adjustment of status.
  • Ensure the form is accurately filled out and signed.

Required Documentation

When submitting Form I-854, the following documents must be included:

  1. Evidence of eligibility for S nonimmigrant status.
  2. Any additional supporting documents that detail the individual’s cooperation with law enforcement.

Processing Timelines

The processing time for Form I-854 varies based on caseload and other factors within USCIS. Applicants will typically receive:

  • An acknowledgment of receipt shortly after filing.
  • Subsequent notifications regarding any additional steps or decisions.

Form I-854 Sections Breakdown

Form I-854 is instrumental for law enforcement agencies to facilitate noncitizens who are key witnesses or informants receiving benefits under U.S. immigration law.

Applicant Information

The Applicant Information section of Form I-854 collects detailed personal data. This includes the applicant’s:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Current status in the U.S. It is imperative that this information is provided accurately to identify the individual for potential immigration benefits.

Qualifying Criteria

Under the Qualifying Criteria subsection, the form assesses eligibility. Criteria include:

  • The applicant’s role as a witness or informant
  • The nature of the assistance provided to law enforcement agencies must provide specific details about the individual’s assistance to demonstrate their eligibility for S nonimmigrant classification.

Certification and Signature

The Certification and Signature part is the formal attestation by law enforcement. It involves:

  • Authorized law enforcement agency representative’s signature
  • Date of certification This certifies the validity of the information provided and the agency’s endorsement of the applicant’s S nonimmigrant status.

Roles and Responsibilities

Form I-854 is critical in the collaboration between noncitizen informants or witnesses and law enforcement agencies. It delineates the reciprocal commitments required to maintain the integrity and intent of the S nonimmigrant status program.

Applicant’s Responsibilities

The applicant refers to the noncitizen seeking an S nonimmigrant status. They must provide accurate and complete information as requested by the Form I-854. Their chief responsibilities include:

  • Timely Submission: Ensuring the form is completed diligently and submitted within the required timeframe.
  • Accuracy of Information: Providing truthful information regarding their background and circumstances and informing the agency of any changes.

Agency’s Obligations

The agency is a law enforcement entity that sponsors the noncitizen. Their obligations on Form I-854 are:

  • Verification: Confirming the noncitizen’s eligibility and the veracity of the information provided.
  • Support: It must petition on behalf of the noncitizen and facilitate their immigration process as per the guidelines of the S nonimmigrant status.

After Submission

After an applicant submits Form I-854, Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, the focus shifts to monitoring the application status, addressing any requests from USCIS, and understanding the possible next steps after approval.

Status Tracking

Individuals can track the status of their Form I-854 submission by using the USCIS online case status tool. They will need the receipt number provided by USCIS after receiving the form. It is essential to regularly check the status to stay informed about the case progression.

RFEs and Potential Delays

  • Request for Evidence (RFE): USCIS may issue an RFE if additional information is needed to process the application. Applicants have a specific timeframe to respond with the required documentation.
  • Delays: Applications can face delays due to incomplete information, high submissions, or security checks. Applicants should prepare for possible delays and respond promptly to any USCIS correspondence.

Approval and Next Steps

  • Approval: Upon approval, the applicant will receive notification and can proceed with the next steps, typically involving coordination with law enforcement agencies for the specific situation under the ‘S’ nonimmigrant status.
  • Adjustment of Status: If eligible, individuals may apply for status adjustment to become a lawful permanent resident under section 245(j) of the INA, using Form I-485.

Legal Considerations

The legal considerations surrounding Form I-854 address the protection of informants’ identities and the consequences of providing false information to government agencies.

Confidentiality Provisions

Form I-854, known as the Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, is subject to confidentiality provisions to protect the identity of noncitizens who provide essential information to law enforcement. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ensures that the information in Form I-854 remains secure, as the individuals involved often assist in investigations requiring safeguarding their identity.

Legal Ramifications of False Statements

Making false statements on Form I-854 can lead to serious legal repercussions, such as criminal charges and immigration penalties. Individuals providing false information may be subject to prosecution under pertinent statutes. All informants and witnesses must utilize this form to provide accurate and truthful information to maintain the integrity of the legal process and uphold their eligibility for immigration benefits.

Resources and Assistance

When applying for U.S. permanent residence through Form I-854 as an alien witness or informant, applicants have several resources available to guide them through the process and provide the necessary assistance.

Official Instructions

USCIS provides the official instructions for the Form I-854 series, which includes Form I-854A and Form I-854B. Detailed guidance on completing and submitting the forms can be found on the USCIS website. The instructions include:

  • Information on eligibility requirements
  • Step-by-step directions for each form part
  • A list of necessary supporting documents
  • Submission and filing fee details, if applicable

Help Centers and Hotlines

USCIS operates multiple help centers and hotlines to assist applicants:

  • USCIS Contact Center: Available for nationwide assistance. Applicants can ask about forms and the status of their applications.
    • Phone: 1-800-375-5283
    • TTY for the deaf, hard of hearing, or person with a speech disability: 1-800-767-1833
  • Law Enforcement Support Center: Specific queries related to law enforcement can be addressed here.
    • Phone: 802-872-6020
    • Fax: 802-872-6199

Legal Assistance

For applicants requiring legal assistance:

  • Immigration Lawyers: They can provide detailed and personalized guidance through the Form I-854 application process.
  • Pro Bono Legal Services: These are available for those needing legal help but cannot afford it. The USCIS website has a list of available legal service providers.

Applicants should always consult with licensed professionals when seeking legal advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Form I-854?2024-01-08T06:54:56+00:00
Form I-854, also known as the Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, is used by law enforcement agencies to request that a noncitizen witness or informant receive classification as an S nonimmigrant.
Who uses Form I-854?2024-01-08T06:56:11+00:00
This form is filled out by federal or state law enforcement agencies or the U.S. Attorney’s Office to classify a noncitizen as an S nonimmigrant due to their value as a witness or informant in a criminal investigation or proceeding.
What are the steps for an S nonimmigrant to obtain a Green Card?2024-01-08T06:57:15+00:00

An individual with S nonimmigrant status must follow a two-step process:

  1. File Form I-854 with the support of a law enforcement agency or U.S. Attorney’s Office.
  2. After certain conditions are met, the individual may apply for permanent residency (a Green Card).
What is the purpose of the S nonimmigrant classification?2024-01-08T07:00:06+00:00
The classification is intended to facilitate the cooperation of foreign individuals in investigations or prosecutions by providing them with lawful status in the United States.
Is there a specific timeframe for filing Form I-854?2024-01-08T07:00:53+00:00
The law enforcement agency or U.S. Attorney’s Office involved should file Form I-854 as required by the relevant investigation or prosecution timelines. Agencies must comply with all relevant deadlines to maintain the individual’s status.

Glossary

  • Form I-854: This is a document used by law enforcement agencies to request that a noncitizen in S nonimmigrant status be permitted to apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident under section 245(j) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR): An individual entitled to indefinitely live in the United States. LPRs can work legally and may eventually apply for citizenship.
  • Adjustment of Status: The process allowing certain immigrants to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
  • S Nonimmigrant Status: A temporary immigration status granted to certain aliens who assist law enforcement as witnesses or informants.
  • Section 245(j) of the INA: A provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows aliens in S nonimmigrant status to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident under specific conditions.
  • USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services): The federal agency administrating immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities.
  • LEA (Law Enforcement Agency): A government agency responsible for enforcing the laws.
Term Definition
Form I-854 Document used by LEAs for status adjustment requests
LPR An individual with the right to live indefinitely in the U.S.
Adjustment of Status Process for obtaining LPR status in the U.S.
S Nonimmigrant Status Status for aliens assisting law enforcement
Section 245(j) of the INA Legal provision under the INA for adjusting status
USCIS Agency overseeing U.S. immigration services
LEA Agency enforcing laws
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