WASHINGTON – An interim rule for adjustment-of-status application procedures under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, March 26. Adjustment of status under Section 245(i) is one of several immigration benefit provisions created by the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and LIFE Act Amendments (LIFE Act) enacted on December 21, 2000.
"The LIFE Act provides relief for a number of individuals seeking to become lawful permanent residents, but it is not amnesty for all persons unlawfully in the United States," said Acting Commissioner Mary Ann Wyrsch. "A major provision of the law is now in place, and we are moving as quickly as possible to develop regulations for all other LIFE benefits."
Section 245(i) allows certain persons—who have an immigrant visa immediately available but entered without inspection or otherwise violated their status and thus are ineligible to apply for adjustment of status in the United States—to apply if they pay a $1,000 penalty. The LIFE Act temporarily extends the ability to preserve eligibility for this provision of law until April 30, 2001. Use of Section 245(i) adjustment of status previously was limited to eligible individuals who were the beneficiary of a visa petition or labor certification application filed on or before January 14, 1998.
This is an important benefit for eligible individuals. Without Section 245(i), many individuals who entered illegally or violated their status are restricted from filing for adjustment in the United States and must obtain their immigrant visas overseas. However, their departure to obtain their immigrant visa abroad could trigger the three-year and 10-year bars to admission to the United States related to unlawful presence. Generally, the three-year bar applies to those who were unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days, and the 10-year bar applies to those who were unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more.
NOTE: There are some groups that may not be affected by any deadlines related to Section 245(i). The spouse or unmarried minor child of a U.S. citizen or the parent of a U.S. citizen child at least 21 years of age if he/she was inspected and lawfully admitted to the United States, but subsequently overstayed his/her authorized admission or worked without permission, does not need to apply for adjustment of status under Section 245(i). Also, certain persons who are eligible for certain employment-based immigrant visas and who were inspected and lawfully admitted to the United States, but have not violated their status or worked without permission for more than 180 days, do not have to apply for adjustment of status under Section 245(i).The LIFE Act provides a very short window of opportunity, which ends April 30, 2001, for individuals to preserve their eligibility to file for adjustment of status under Section 245(i). It is not necessary to apply for Section 245(i) adjustment of status on or before April 30, 2001, but to preserve eligibility for Section 245(i) adjustment an individual must:
The LIFE Act also:
"Immigration law is very complex. Those who have concerns about their eligibility for LIFE Act benefits should be cautious to avoid unscrupulous immigration practitioners. They should contact a licensed attorney or a legal service provider recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals," urged Acting Commissioner Wyrsch.
(A list of legal service providers recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals is available on the Internet site www.usdoj.gov/eoir under "Pro Bono Program.")
– INS –
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