Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act
Section 245(i) is a very important part of US immigration law. It allows certain eligible aliens who are in the US to apply for permanent residence by excusing certain immigration law violations that would otherwise prevent them from doing so, such as in the case of someone who overstayed their visa or entered without inspection.
In order to qualify under 245(i), an alien must be a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition OR labor certification application that was filed before April 30, 2001. Applicants must also prove they were physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. A very important feature of 245(i) is that eligible aliens continue to be eligible even if their original application was denied or withdrawn. Thus, an eligible alien whose original petition was denied may still file for 245(i) legalization by having another family member or employer sponsor file a new application today.
It is also important to note that the new Section 245(i) does not give a person permission to work or travel, and it does not provide any protection from deportation. Section 245(i) ONLY allows qualified applicants to adjust status by paying a $1,000 penalty fee and get their green card in the U.S. Section 245(i) is NOT an "Amnesty" for immigrants, nor does it create a new way of getting a green card. It does, however, offer a way for hundreds of thousands of immigrants to legalize their immigration status and cure previous immigration law violations.
There have been many attempts to extend 245(i) since it expired in April of 2001. However, due to the events of September 11, these efforts to pass the extension have not been successful. If you would benefit from an extension of 245(i), you should stay informed of the news and stay in touch with an experienced immigration attorney on a regular basis.
If you have any questions, contact South Florida Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111.