In 1994 Congress added a new provision of law that allowed certain people who qualified for permanent residency or green cards but who might not be eligible for adjustment of status (or in other words to receive their green cards here in the U.S. without leaving) to receive their permanent residency if they paid a fine of $1,000. The law was unfortunately phased out in 2001. However, there are certain applicants who can still take advantage of the benefits under 245(i) today.
Typically, for applicants to adjust status (receive a green card) through a family member he or she must have entered the U.S. lawfully. For many applicants who entered without inspection adjustment of status is never possible regardless of the family ties or time here in the U.S. For this reason the implementation of 245(i) is a literal life saver for applicants who would otherwise be unable to adjust in the U.S. Immigration advocates continue to hope for comprehensive immigration reform which includes a new extension of 245(i) benefits for eligible families.
In order to qualify for 245(i) a person must have had a labor certification or immigrant visa petition (Form I-130) filed for them on or before January 14, 1998 or on or before April 30, 2001 but who was physically present (whether legally or illegally) in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. Many applicants today who had a relative who applied for them are still waiting in particular preference categories. The benefit of 245(i) is that you do not need to adjust status in the same category that you were petitioned in. For example, assume your brother petitioned for you in 2000 but you are still “waiting” in the line (preference category) for your visa date to become current. Many sibling petitions take 12 to 30 plus years for processing. However, let’s say that your U.S. citizen son or daughter will turn 21 before your priority date becomes current — you can apply for permanent residence using the underlying I-130 petition that was filed over 20 years ago as long as you pay a fine of $1,000.
Many people may be eligible for relief under 245(i) because they are “grandfathered in” even if a relative of yours was included on an immigrant visa application (Form I-130). For example, if your parent was listed on a petition you may be able to benefit from 245(i) if you have a route/family member who can apply for you to receive an adjustment of status. The interpretations of ways to use the benefits 245(i) are very tricky and seeking out an experienced immigration attorney is extremely valuable to the process. Please call Kasturi Law, LLC at 6303928101 to discuss whether you may meet the criteria of 245 (i).