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Section 245(i): Who Is Protected and Who Isn’t Under the Immigration Law

Section 245(i) of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE) is available to certain persons who aren’t eligible to apply for adjustment of status otherwise. Obviously, certain steps will have to be fulfilled and the candidate will need to go through the application process to be considered for adjustment of their U.S. status.

An Overview of Section 245(i)

Under Section 245(i) of the LIFE Act, those who have violated their status and are ineligible for adjustment application could eventually apply upon the payment of a penalty.

This means that people who are generally disqualified from applying for adjustment could apply for permanent residence in the US, even if they fell out of their lawful status or worked without having the proper authorization to do so.

The benefits of Section 245(i) are limited. In order to get a Green Card, a person will still need to receive an approved immigration petition and meet the general requirements for status adjustment. Section 245(i) does not affect the approval of a labor or an immigration application.

245(i) was first introduced in 1994 and in 2000, it was extended to April 30,2001. Through this extension, the 245(i) provisions become applicable to individuals who had a labor certificate or a visa petition filed between 1998 and 2000.

If you’ve done such a filing in the period until April 30, 2001, you are qualified for the 245(i) benefits.

Who Is Eligible for Adjustment of Status Under 245(i)

Apart meeting the deadlines, you will also have to address several other requirements for adjustment under section 245(i).

In most cases, a 1000-dollar fine will have to be paid alongside the filing of the I-485 Supplement A. The other eligibility requirements include:

  • Being a beneficiary of a qualified immigrant or work certification petition that was filed prior to April 30, 2001
  • You were physically present in the US in the period until December 2000 (for those who have done a filing in the period from January 15, 1998 to April 30, 2001)
  • Being the beneficiary of a current qualifying immigration petition
  • You need to have a visa immediately available to you
  • You are admissible to the US

Section 245(i) does not protect immigrants from removal proceedings and the section doesn’t grant additional benefits either. Anyone who has been ordered to be removed from the US cannot complete an adjustment application under section 245(i).

Keep in mind that the 245(i) provisions also do not grant an exception from the two-year home country residency requirement for J-1 visa holders.

Applying for Adjustment Under Section 245(i)

If all of these conditions are fulfilled, you can apply for status adjustment under Section 245(i). As the legal process may be somewhat complicated, it would be best to get representation from an experienced immigration attorney.

To apply for adjustment, you will have to submit all of the typically required status adjustment petitions and forms. These include the I-485 application, I-864 Affidavit of Support and I-693 Report of Medical Examination.

Apart from the forms, you’ll also be required to provide various types of supporting evidence.

The evidence is filed alongside the I-485 form and it includes passport-size photos, Form G-325A, a copy of your birth certificate and ID, a copy of the passport page that features your non-immigrant visa, arrival and departure records, a copy of your immigration or labor petition and/or proof of your physical presence in the US.

You’ll also need to provide evidence that the filing fees and the penalty of 1,000 dollars have both been covered.

You can submit your adjustment application under 245(i) at any time, as long as all of the terms and conditions have been met.

Other Terms and Conditions of Section 245(i)

While your I-485 form is pending, you have the right to apply for work in the US or to seek advanced parole. Advanced parole is a permission to travel and be re-admitted to the US upon your return.

Keep in mind, however, that the application under Section 245(i) of the LIFE Act is not the same as getting amnesty for your unlawful presence or work activities in the US. Breaches of status will continue accumulating until you file for adjustment of status.

Even if you do the filing, you’re not going to be protected from deportation and you’re not going to be granted a period of stay, during which you’ll be free from having removal proceedings initiated against you.

There are numerous grounds of inadmissibility for adjustment, hence a legal consultation is a must. Even if you apply for adjustment of status under Section 245(i), your petition will be denied for a failure to meet all of the requirements. An immigration lawyer will help you prepare and give you the best chance of getting adjustment.