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Extension of 245(i)
by Cyrus D. Mehta

LIFE has extended 245(i) until April 30, 2001. What exactly is 245(i)? This provision used to exist in the law until January 14, 1998 and allowed people who were out of status to apply for adjustment of status in the United States by paying a penalty of $1000. 245(i) has never been an amnesty provision. To be eligible for adjustment of status under this provision, the individual must have been the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition either through a family or employment sponsorship.

As a background, filing an immigrant visa petition is the first step in a two-step process. The second step is acquiring permanent residency by filing an adjustment of status application. As long as the petition or labor certification is filed, prior to April 30, 2001, an individual can apply for adjustment of status under 245(i) later on.

Congress originally phased out 245(i) on January 14, 1998. People who filed immigrant visa petitions or labor certification applications before January 14, 1998, were grandfathered to receive the benefits of 245(i). However, many missed the January 14 deadline and others since have fallen out of status. The extension of 245(i) until April 30, 2001 provides a four-month window of opportunity for people to protect their ability to ultimately adjust their status in this country. Please note that people filing immigrant visa petitions or labor certification applications after January 14, 1998, but before April 30, 2001, must prove that they were physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000, the date this measure became law in order to become eligible under 245(i).

Without 245(i), out of status people needed to return to their home countries and there complete the process for an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate. However, if people have been out of status in the United States for more than 180 days, they would be barred from reentering the United States for at least 3 years, and perhaps as long as 10 years. Under 245(i), an eligible individual can remain in the United States to obtain permanent residence through adjustment of status, and thus never trigger these entry bars.

Finally, it is important that people seeking 245(i) benefits seek advice from the people who can really help them: immigration lawyers and clinics with the expertise and knowledge to get the job done correctly. People who use notarios endanger themselves and their families and may end up, due to incorrect advice, being unable to use 245(i), out of luck and still out of status!

About The Author

Cyrus Mehta, a graduate of Cambrdige University and Columbia Law School, practices immigration law in New York City. He is Vice Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's National Labor Department Liaison Committee, trustee of the American Immigration Law Foundation and recipient of the Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award. He is also Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He frequently lectures on various immigration subjects at legal seminars, workshops and universities, and may be contacted at 212-686-1581 or His website is


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