A Simple Guide on the Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i)


If you violated or overstayed your visa, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i) enables you to obtain a green card without leaving the country.

Adjustment of Status Under 245(i)


Certain undocumented immigrants who were physically present in the United States might petition for permanent lawful status (a “green card”) under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Eligible people were allowed to seek lawful permanent residency despite how they first came to the United States or even if they were out of status under the clause, which is still in effect but is virtually dead owing to the passage of a crucial legislative date.


Adjustment of Status Application


Only if a business or family-based qualified immigrant petition was submitted on their account by April 30, 2001, May immigrants with an illegal immigration status qualify for a green card. At this time, very few people in the United States would meet this criterion and haven’t previously received relief under Section 245(i) or via another method.

Many people would benefit from Section 245(i), which would let them adjust status and get a green card despite how they entered the country—whether they ever worked without authorization or they failed to maintain lawful status.

Many undocumented immigrants who want to apply for a green card based on ties with family who are U.S. citizens or people with lawful permanent resident status must do so from overseas. Those who have been illegally present in the United States for a long time risk a three- to a ten-year ban on reentering the nation. Unauthorized immigrants might waive their rights under Section 245(i).

Can I Get a Green Card Under 245(i)?


Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as promulgated by the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act and LIFE Act Amendments of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-553 and -554), allows specific individuals who are already in the United States but would not otherwise be able to adjust status to obtain lawful permanent residence (a green card) regardless of:

  • The method in which they arrived in the United States;
  • Whether they are working without authorization in the United States; or
  • Failure to retain legal status since entering the country.

You have to be the recipient of a labor certification application (Form ETA 750) or have had immigrant visa petitions filed to be eligible for this benefit. If you want to learn more about immigration law and the immigration process, contact naturalization & citizenship lawyer Michael G. Murray at (512) 215-4407 today!

Gaining U.S. citizenship or dealing with immigration injustices is a complex process. However, at our law firm, we make navigating immigration matters simple through accessible immigration services and straightforward legal advice.

We focus on a wide range of immigrant services, including family-based petitions and immigrant visas. Our law firm helps individuals from all over the world apply for citizenship, green cards and visas through a variety of immigrant visa categories. We also provide assistance with deportation defense as well as waivers.

Our team is eager to make the process as easy as possible. From simple tasks like filling out forms to filing immigrant petitions, we make sure our clients are safeguarded every step of the way.



If you are interested in pursuing an adjustment of status under Section 245(i), you likely have several questions. We’ve answered a few common questions below.


Is It Possible to Adjust My Status if I Came Here Illegally, Worked Without Permission, or Did Not Keep My Nonimmigrant Status?

People who entered the United States without being examined by a U.S. immigration official, have ever worked illegally in the United States, or struggled to keep lawful status in the United States are typically banned from changing their status (except for the “direct family” of U.S. lawful permanent residents and some employment-based candidates, the last two bars are waived.)

Despite these issues, certain immigrants may be qualified for adjustment of status under Section 245 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (i).

I’d Like to Change My Status, Although I’ve Worked Without the USCIS’s Permission. Is It Possible for Me to Adjust My Status?

Unless you qualify under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, you are not qualified to change your status if you have worked in the United States lacking authorization from the USCIS (I).

If you are a close relative of a U.S. citizen, this requirement does not apply to you (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21 years old). It also excludes some international medical graduates, workers of international organizations, and their family members.


I Came to the United States Illegally, but I Am Now Married to a Citizen of the United States. Is It Possible for Me to Change My Status?

Unfortunately, unless you meet the criteria for Section 245 protection (i), you can’t change your status.


What Are the Advantages of 245(i) For an Alien?

Even if the immigrant entered the United States without inspection, was out of status, or disobeyed the terms of their nonimmigrant status, 245(i) will allow the foreigner to petition for adjustment of status. To get a green card, the immigrant must still fulfill additional conditions for adjustment of status.


How Much Is the Penalty Fee, and When Is It Due?

The $1,000 Section 245(i) penalty cost is added to any other filing fees imposed by the USCIS. This cost is canceled when family or employers file the visa petition or labor certifications on or before April 30, 2001.

It is often payable when the immigrant files for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. As a result, the $1,000 fee must be paid when submitting Form I-485A, which is filed simultaneously with the ordinary adjustment of status application (Form I-485).


What Do “The Three- And Ten-Year Bars” Mean? Why Are They Important?

Before adopting 245(i), out-of-status aliens had to go back to their home countries and undertake the application procedure for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate.

Aliens who have been out of status in the United States for more than 180 days will be banned from attempting to enter the U.S. for at least three years; aliens who have been out of status in the United States for more than 360 days would be barred from reentering for at least ten years.

Section 245(i) allows an eligible immigrant to stay in the United States and apply for permanent residency through adjustment of status, avoiding the imposition of certain entrance limitations. So because 245(i) does not erase the three-year/ten-year bans, individuals subject to the bars mustn’t leave the United States until they become permanent residents.

How Do I Qualify for 245 I?


You must have been the recipient of a Form I-130 immigrant visa petition (“Petition for Alien Relative”) or Form I-140 immigrant visa petition filed (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”) with the INS on or before April 30, 2001, or have been the beneficiary of an assignment for workforce certification filed with the Department of Labor on or before April 30, 2001, to be eligible for 245(i).

You must be physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000, if you were the beneficiary of a visa petition or labor certification application submitted after January 14, 1998, but before April 30, 2001.


Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants Could Become LPRS Under an Amended 245(i)


Hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants on whose behalf immigrant visa petitions or labor certifications applications have already been filed could potentially apply for LPR status without having to leave the United States if Congress amends Section 245(i) again, establishing a new registration deadline and physical presence requirement.  

2017 Census research done by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and the Center for American Progress states that 2.2 million adult U.S. citizens (including native-born and naturalized) had at least one undocumented immigrant living with them.

Suppose you want to learn more about how these changes can affect your situation directly. In that case, you need a professional immigration attorney who will fight for your rights and do whatever it takes for your situation to turn up favorably.

Contact Us Now for Your Immigration Issues


Contact our Austin office at (512) 215-4407 or our Miami office at (305) 895-2500 without hesitation! You can receive a confidential consultation and receive proper legal advice. If you are dealing with deportation, family immigration, or simply want a visa lawyer, we are here for you!

Explore our website and learn more about immigration law, eligibility criteria for a family member, and more!

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
This is default text for notification bar