Without additional protection, including that afforded under Section 245i of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any person who is present in the United States unlawfully would ordinarily be prevented from adjusting their legal status. For example, they could not obtain a Green Card. The goal of section 245i is to change that. What it says, in general terms, is that, provided other conditions are met, you may be able to qualify for an adjustment in your legal status even though you normally would not qualify.
This section allows you to apply for a change in your legal status regardless of:
- The way in which you entered the United States. This includes EWI (entry Without Inspection), that is, those who may have entered the country without presenting themselves at a border crossing and obtaining permission to enter.
- The fact that you may have been working in the U.S. without proper authorization (a Green Card).
- Your lack of continuous lawful status in the United States since your entry into the country.
Of course, as you might expect, 245i status is not available to everyone. There are eligibility requirements that need to be met before you may properly file. For example, you may apply if you are admissible to the US or eligible for a waiver. You may also be “grandfathered” as the spouse, child or dependent of a resident. Other eligibility criteria may also apply. Finally, the law provides for a “discretionary” application of 245i where warranted.
245i and Amnesty
Although it may appear that once an application under section 245i is granted, the story is at an end, this is not the case. First and foremost, 245i does not provide amnesty, or forgiveness, for illegal entry, illegal presence, or other statutory violations. Moreover, just because you have received approval under 245i, there may be other grounds that apply which may make you unable to remain in the country legally. If such grounds do exist, an experienced Phoenix immigration attorney will know how to seek to remedy those issues so that they do not stand in the way of obtaining lawful presence within the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some questions that people often ask when faced with the challenges of remaining in the United States after entering or remaining in the country unlawfully:
Q: I entered the country illegally, but I married a U.S. citizen. Can I have my status changed?
A: If you are eligible, you may apply for protection under 245i.
Q: I have been working without authorization. Can I have my status adjusted?
A: As noted above, if you are eligible, you may apply for protection under 245i.
Q: I entered the country legally, but now I have overstayed my visa. It has been about a year. During that time, I married a legal permanent resident. What are my options?
A: Marrying a permanent resident will not change your status. You may apply for a status adjustment under 245i.
Q: Do I need an attorney to file under 245i?
A: There is no legal requirement that you have an attorney. But trying to navigate the laws applicable to this entire area on your own will likely result in disaster, meaning that you will accomplish little or nothing, waste time, and even perhaps make your situation worse. The first questions you must be able to answer, for example, include (a) what are my options? (b) am I eligible for relief under 245I? (c) are their other laws, or other requirements, which may apply to my situation? If you have questions, contact our firm. We have the answers.
Phoenix 245i Attorney for Undocumented Immigrants
There are few areas of the law that are as complex, confusing, and which could affect your life more than your status as an undocumented immigrant. Filing the wrong form, not filing on time, failing to follow all the procedures required – these are just some of the potential pitfalls of trying to deal with these issues on your own.
At Castañeda Immigration Law, we concentrate on immigration matters. We understand what must be done in order to accomplish the goals you wish to achieve, and we have years of experience doing just that for client after client. Don’t try to go it alone. Contact us at (602)560-3131 regarding your questions about section 245i or any other immigration matter.