LIFE Act

Overview
Section 245(i) provision of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) allows certain persons, who have an immigrant visa immediately available but entered without inspection or otherwise violated their status and thus are ineligible to apply for adjustment of status in the United States, to apply if they pay a $1,000 penalty. The LIFE Act temporarily extends the ability to preserve eligibility for this provision of law until April 30, 2001. Use of Section 245(i) adjustment of status previously was limited to eligible individuals who were the beneficiary of a visa petition or labor certification application filed on or before January 14, 1998.

Eligibility
Certain persons covered under Section 245(i) adjustment of status are listed at Section 245(a) and (c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and include individuals who:
  • Entered the United States illegally;
  • Worked in the United States illegally,
  • Failed to maintain continuously lawful status,
  • Entered under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program,
  • Entered as foreign crewmen, and
  • Entered as foreign travelers in transit without a visa.

To be eligible for Section 245(i) adjustment of status under the LIFE Act, you must:
  • Be the beneficiary of a Form I-130 immigrant visa petition ("Petition for Alien Relative"),
    or Form I-140 immigrant visa petition ("Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker"),
    or Form I-360 ["Petition for an Amerasian Widow(er), or Special Immigrant],
    or Form I-526 ("Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur") filed with the INS on or before April 30, 2001, (either received by INS or, if mailed, post marked on or before April 30, 2001) or
  • Be the beneficiary of an application for labor certification filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) according to DOL rules on or before April 30, 2001, and
  • Also have been physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000, if the qualifying visa petition or labor certification application was filed after January 14, 1998.

All petitions and applications must be properly filed and approvable when filed.

NOTE: There are some groups that may not be affected by any deadlines related to Section 245(i). The spouse or unmarried minor child of a U.S. citizen or the parent of a U.S. citizen child at least 21 years of age if he/she was inspected and lawfully admitted to the United States, but subsequently over stayed his/her authorized admission or worked without permission, does not need to apply for adjustment of status under Section 245(i). Also, certain persons who are eligible for certain employment-based immigrant visas and who were inspected and lawfully admitted to the United States, but have not violated their status or worked without permission for more than 180 days, do not have to apply for adjustment of status under Section 245(i).

Application
Period to preserve eligibility for adjustment of status using Section 245(i) ends on April 30, 2001. You are not required to file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) on or before April 30, 2001. However, to preserve your eligibility to apply for adjustment using Section 245(i) you must be the beneficiary of a Form I-130 immigrant visa petition ("Petition for Alien Relative") or Form I-140 immigrant visa petition ("Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker") filed with the INS on or before April 30, 2001, or be the beneficiary of an application for labor certification filed with the DOL on or before April 30, 2001.

All petitions and applications must be properly filed and approvable when filed. "Properly filed" for an immigrant visa petition means that the immigrant visa petition was received by INS prior to the close of business on or before April 30, 2001, or if mailed, was post marked on or before April 30, 2001, and The immigrant visa petition contains the names of the petitioner and the beneficiary, the proper fee, and the signature of the petitioner.

"Approvable when filed" for an immigrant visa petition means that: it was filed properly, it was meritorious in fact, it was not fraudulent; and at the time of filing, the beneficiary had the appropriate family relationship or employment relationship that would support the issuance of an immigrant visa.

"Properly filed" for an application for labor certification means that it was filed with the DOL on or before April 30, 2001, according to DOL rules.

"Approvable when filed" for an application for labor certification means that when the labor certification was filed with the DOL, it was filed properly according to DOL rules; it was meritorious in fact; and it was not fraudulent.

You will be able to submit your application for adjustment of status under Section 245(i) at any later time when your immigrant petition is approved and a visa number is immediately available for you in accordance with the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin.

Documents
Adjustment of status application under Section 245(i) application should include:
  • Form I-485 ("Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status") with all information and documentation specified in the instructions;
  • I-485 Supp. A
  • $1,000 penalty fee;
    The only applicants using Section 245(i) who do not have to pay the $1,000 penalty fee are those who, at the time they file their application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) under Section 245(i), are unmarried and less than 17 years of age, or the spouse or unmarried child (less than 21 years of age) of a legalized alien who qualifies for and has properly filed Form I-817, "Application for Voluntary Departure under the Family Unity Program." Such persons must submit a copy of their receipt or approval notice for filing Form I-817 along with their application for adjustment of status under Section 245(i).
    All other applicants for adjustment of status (Form I-485) under Section 245(i) must pay the $1,000 penalty fee.
  • $186 application fee and the $25 finger printing fee;
  • Proof that the principal beneficiary of the immigrant visa petition or labor certification application was physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000, if the qualifying visa petition or labor certification application was filed after January 14, 1998.
  • In addition, if you want permission to work in the United States while your application is being processed, you may also apply for work authorization by including a Form I-765 ("Application for Employment Authorization") and the $88 application fee.