The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act and LIFE Act Amendments of 2000 allows specific entities who are currently residing in the United States who may not apply for an adjustment of status in the United States just to obtain a Lawful Permanent Residence or Green Card. Section 245i enables such scenarios regardless of the manner of U.S. arrival, employment inside the country without authorization, or failing to continuously maintain lawful status since admission. Your immigration attorney can tell you more about this.
In layman’s terms, 245i can be synonymous to a one-way ticket to the United States without bearing any accountability or compromises in regards to overextension of stay.
Eligibility Criteria for 245i
As stated above, only certain people may be granted such petition. One of the qualifications is possession of beneficiary or labor certification application (Form ETA 750) or an Immigrant Visa Petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) that is submitted on or before April 30, 2001. The petitioner must complete Supplement A to Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to be able to fully apply under Section 245i. These forms will then be submitted together with the Form I-485. Most of the cases require an additional fee of $1000.
The applicant can also be eligible to receive a Green Card under this section if he or she was physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000; if the applicant is the primary beneficiary with the petition filed between January 15, 1998 to April 30, 2001.
Other qualifications include:
- Has a visa immediately available
- Eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief
- Warrant the favourable exercise of discretion (the positive factors are greater than the negative ones)
A spouse or a child of a grandfathered individual may also be eligible to adjust status as a dependent under Section 245i of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) depending on the case given.
Why is This Needed?
Contrary to popular belief, Section 245i does not let loose unlawful crimes regarding violation of immigration status. Rather, unlawful presence continues to accumulate over time until the applicant files an application for adjustment of status. This section does not defend the petitioner from removal from the United States and have a period of secured stay authorized by the Homeland Security. This is the exact reason why these applicants need it.
If an individual committed illegal entry or violation of any law, these crimes will still accrue until they file a proper adjustment of status application. If this persists for 3 months or more, (being an unlawful resident in the United States) and then chooses to depart the country, this will trigger a bar to adjustment of status which is usually a three-year or ten-year bar under Section 212a of the INA. Most of the time, Section 245i does not accept this bar.
There are certainly other grounds that strengthen the necessity of application for adjustment of status under Section 245i – most especially if the applicant has been an illegal worker or resident for years. This is also why in the eligibility criteria; the applicants should have a waiver of inadmissibility or any kind of form of relief. Once the petitioner filed Form I-485, they become qualified for legal work and may continue working in the United States if the apply and receive an Employment Authorization Document.
Scratching the surface, Section 245i may seem a bit of a stretch to unlawful residents in the U.S. However, once individuals become more aware of what it actually covers – the sanctions it may give and the thought of being deported as well – makes it clearer as to why some of these people really do need it.