Immigration and Nationality Act Section 245(i) is a part of immigration law allows certain undocumented immigrants to become lawful permanent residents. Even if they have violated their status, overstayed, or entered the U.S. unlawfully, they may be eligible to receive a green card under Section 245(i).
INA Section 245(i) protects those who had a relative or employer file a visa petition or labor certification for them before April 30, 2001. This is the magic date – April 30, 2001.
If the labor cert or visa was filed sometime between January 15, 1998, and April 30, 2001, applicants must also have also been present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. Applicants will need some evidence of their presence during this time.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 245 was created in 1952 and was included in the original INA to allow individuals admitted as nonimmigrants to the U.S. a path to a green card. This opportunity allows them to apply for permanent lawful status without having to leave the country and come back—provided they are eligible for a green car. Initially, individuals who were lawfully paroled or admitted into the U.S. were the only ones allowed to adjust under Section 245.
In 1994, Section 245(i) of the INA was created by Congress, adding eligibility for undocumented immigrants. Even immigrants who were not lawfully admitted to the U.S. were able to adjust—as long as they had a valid petition submitted on their behalf before the INA deadline.
This is a magic bullet for folks who happen to qualify because otherwise they would have to return to their home country to obtain the green card at a US consulate. Most times as soon as they leave the US they are subject to a ten (10) year bar as punishment for residing in the US as an undocumented immigrant.
There are no special directions to apply for the Section 245(i) adjustment of status. Just as you would normally apply, submit a Form I-485 and pay the filing fee. There will be an additional fine, but it’s well worth the ability to avoid travel and the possibility of a bar to re-entry that leaving would trigger.
What Would Happen if Congress Updated 245(i) Again?
As the April 30, 2001 filing deadline gets farther and farther away, there are less and less folks who qualify for this benefit.
If Section 245(i) were updated – the deadline moved forward – millions of undocumented immigrants could have an opportunity to obtain a green card.