Through the Legal Immigration Family Equality Act (LIFE), signed into law in December of 2000, and its corresponding amendments, certain otherwise unqualified immigrants are given the opportunity to apply for an adjustment of status and apply for permanent residency, regardless of a failure to comply with laws regulating entry to the US, work requirements or work status. Whereas an immigrant would traditionally be prevented from attempting to adjust his or her status if the aforementioned conditions had occurred, Section 245 now allows many immigrants who would otherwise have been deported to remain in the US if they meet with certain conditions.
Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the adjustment of status of a nonimmigrant to that of a person admitted for permanent residence. Under 245(i)qualified aliens may apply for an adjustment of status after an immigration petition is approved, despite having entered the US without inspection or having failed to comply with the terms of a non-immigrant visa.
An individual is considered eligible under 245(i) provided he or she meets the following qualifications;
- was present within the US on Dec. 21, 2000
- had filed an application for labor certification or an immigration petition by April 30, 2001 and
- either the certification or petition filed in 2 above is approvable at the time the individual files for the adjustment of status
Those who meet the above requirements are considered principal beneficiaries and they, of course are eligible for applying for a status adjustment. Additionally however, the spouses and children of the eligible alien are themselves eligible to apply for a change in status provided that relationship to the alien exists at the time of petition.
Therefore, an alien may applying for a change in status if he meets the above qualifications despite belonging to any of the following groups;
- immigrants who entered the US illegally and/or without inspection
- individuals who no longer have a valid non-immigrant status
- immigrants who have worked without authorization
- immigrants who entered in transit without or with the wavier of a visa
There are, however, specific groups that are excluded from filing for a change of status petition under Section 245, including the following;
- immigrants facing removal proceedings immediately after entry in to the US
- children who have not obtained immigrant status
- immigrants engaged in terrorist activity while in the US