Section 245(i)

Section 245(i) of immigration law can help you become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) if you entered the country without one or more of these items:

  • You were not inspected or legally admitted.
  • You have violated the terms of your immigration.
  • You are considered to be out of legal status.

You can change your status to become an LPR under Section 245(i). When you do, you have to pay a $1,000 penalty along with the standard application fees. Since the law changed, immigrants who were not properly inspected and admitted are unable to adjust status without leaving the country. They must apply for a waiver at the consulate in their home country.The prior law under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, allowed for those who are eligible to change status while in the U.S., even if they entered the country illegally. Those who started the process before the law changed are grandfathered into the old system. This means they can still take advantage of 245(i) adjustment without leaving the country.

245(i) Eligibility

This law applies to select groups of immigrants who were present on December 21, 2000. Also, they must have filed for immigration or labor certification before or on April 30, 2001. Finally, you must be eligible for adjustment of status. This can include having a sponsor who is an immediate relative or a priority date that is current. If you were ordered removed by the United States government, you must follow that order. Changing your status under Section 245(i) does not get rid of that order. The deportation process must go smoothly or else you risk getting more penalties. Even if you fit these requirements, you may still be ineligible based on the following:

  • You did not appear at a scheduled asylum or deportation hearing
  • You did not follow an order for deportation or voluntary departure
  • You were placed into removal proceedings when you immediately entered the U.S.
  • You want to change status due to marrying a U.S. citizen while you were in deportation hearings
  • You stowed away to get to the U.S.

How to Apply for Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i)

First, you must prove that you meet the criteria listed above. Bring thorough documentation about your eligibility for change of status. Documents such as affidavits of support and proof of good-faith marriage will work.You must also prove you filed an I-130 ("Petition for Alien Relative") or I-140 ("Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker") document before April 30, 2001. You need both of these petitions to apply for lawful status in the U.S. as either a resident or a worker. You must qualify for all the conditions under these two separate documents. Also, these documents must be considered properly filed by the deadline.Once you have done this, you can submit the proper application form along with the $1,000 penalty fee. Send the penalty fee along with the application fee and the fingerprint fee. Only in a select amount of cases is the penalty fee waived. To have the fee waived, you must:

  • Articles or media describing the benefits of your service in the field of your choice
  • Official studies or documentation that describe the impact your work has had

If you meet one of these two criteria, be prepared to provide a receipt showing your eligibility.

The LIFE Act

The Legal Immigration Family Equality (LIFE) Act is another name for the law which allows the change of status. This piece of legislation was enacted in 2000 and is the reason that an adjustment of status is allowed at all. Immigration attorneys sometimes refer to Section 245(i) as the LIFE Act.

How Can Salmon-Haas Help Me with Section 245(i) Immigration?

Salmon-Haas have dealt with immigrants that have been right where you are. We know the ins and outs of Section 245(i) and how it changed the landscape of immigration as we know it. It gave people the chance to stay in the United States and immigrate successfully into a new life.If you need help with your immigration status, contact us. We can help work on your immigration status and see if you fit the criteria for the right kind of change.

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