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Immigration and Nationality Act Section 245(i)

Immigration and Nationality Act Section 245(i)

By Brian in Asylum | Immigration | on 2024-01-30 18:55:04

You might be surprised to know there is a way for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States to gain legal status without leaving here. Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that if a person has a labor certification application or immigrant visa petition filed on their behalf by a certain deadline, he or she does not need to leave the U.S. to apply to get their papers. Not every undocumented immigrant with a petition already on file will meet the criteria, though. On top of that, there is a $1,000 price tag on this visa that can be prohibitive to some.


Qualifying for an INA 245(i) Status Adjustment

While the deadline for this law gets updated periodically, it has not been changed in a generation. At the present moment, an immigrant can apply for a 245(i) “legal status adjustment” if a labor certification application, I-130, or I-140 was filed on their behalf before April 30, 2001. Unfortunately, because this deadline is from a generation ago, it applies to very few undocumented people in the U.S. 


Before 2001, the last time the 245(i) was updated was 1994. That was only a seven-year wait. 245(i) is presently looking at a 23-year wait. In other words, INA 245(i) is long overdue for a new deadline. When that update does happen, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will be able to become legal permanent residents.


Does It Matter How the Undocumented Immigrant Entered the U.S.?

No! Under Section 245(i), you could have crossed the border illegally or overstayed a visa. How you entered the United States is not an issue. The provisions of this statute allow the applicant to have any immigration violations waived upon payment of a $1,000 fee. In other words, if someone can qualify under INA Section 245(i), it is often the best route to becoming a lawful permanent resident because things that might get a petition thrown out otherwise are non-issues here.


Understanding Eligibility for an INA 245(i) Adjustment

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, these are the other requirements for getting your papers through Section 245(i):

  • The immigrant is otherwise admissible (whether through normal means or a “waiver of inadmissibility”)
  • If the family or labor certification petition was filed between January 15, 1998, and April 30, 2001, then the immigrant in question (“the beneficiary”) must have been present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000.
  • The immigrant must still be present in the United States at the time of their 245(i) status adjustment.


In addition to being the named beneficiary in a family visa or labor certification application, the spouse or child of that named beneficiary is also eligible through Section 245(i).

Remember that under INA Section 245(i), the immigration department has full authority to exercise its discretion on who gets their legal status adjusted. 


Need a Qualified, Experienced Austin Asylum Lawyer?

  1. Sparks Law is a knowledgeable, professional Austin asylum attorney service. We can help you petition for a family member, see if you qualify under Section 245(i), and any other immigration needs you may have. Contact our office today to get started. Hablamos español.

Julie Sparks

Julie Sparks is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 different countries.

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