Immigration: Adjustment to Permanent Resident Status Under Section 245(i) [Updated April 18, 2002]   [open pdf - 56KB]

"The Senate may again consider extending a controversial immigration provision known as §245(i). On March 12, 2002, the House passed such an extension. Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was first enacted as a temporary provision in 1994 and has been extended several times since then. It enables unauthorized aliens in the United States who are eligible for immigrant visas based on family relationships or job skills to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) without leaving the country, provided they pay an additional fee. Before an alien can apply to adjust to LPR status, the alien must have an approved immigrant visa petition and must have a visa number immediately available to him or her. Currently, to be eligible to adjust status under §245(i), an unauthorized alien must be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition or labor certification application filed by April 30, 2001. An unauthorized alien whose petition or application was not filed by April 30, 2001 must go overseas to obtain a visa. Section 245(i) became more significant after 1996, when Congress enacted a law containing a provision known as the '3 and 10 year bars.' Now an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days and then leaves the country is barred from re-entry for either 3 or 10 years, depending on the length of the illegal stay. By enabling eligible aliens to become LPRs without departing the country to obtain visas, §245(i) shields them from the effects of these bars."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31373
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