The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act and amendments, effective since April 1, 2001, created new categories of nonimmigrant visas, including three V Visas, the K-3 Visa, and the K-4 Visa. This Act generally highlights on those certain individuals who are presently living in the United States who would not normally qualify to apply for adjustment of status in the United States to obtain a green card (permanent residence) regardless of the way they entered into the United States, working in the United States without approval, and failing to continuously maintain lawful status since their entry into the United States. These extremely helpful visas help ease the immigration process for thousands of individuals and reunite families separated during the lengthy immigration approval process.
Note: To qualify for this rule, you must be the recipient of a labor certification application (Form ETA 750) or immigrant visa petition (Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) filed on or before April 30, 2001. This Act has come into existence when it was signed by President Clinton, on December 21, 2000, and it contains the LIFE Act and the LIFE Act Amendments (with the extension of Section 245(i), the new V and K visas, the late sanction provisions, and the NACARA/HRIFA technical amendments). Refer to Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Section 245(i): The Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act of 2000 (LIFE Act) extends Section 245(i) by replacing the old eligibility of finish date (January 14, 1998, the “grandfather” date) with a new date of April 30, 2001. Accordingly, eligible people have until April 30, 2001, to file an immigrant petition or labor certification application to be eligible to adjust their status in this country. The LIFE Act supplemented a new ‘physical presence’ condition that people need to prove that they were actually in the U.S. on the date of completion of this measure, December 21, in order to be qualified to use Section 245(i). Under the changes made by the LIFE Act, Section 245(i) will be available for any recipient of a genuine immigrant visa petition (an I-130, I-140, or I-360) or application for labor certification that is filed on or before April 30, 2001. Recipients of immigrant petitions or labor certifications that are filed after the old cutoff of January 14, 1998, but before the new cutoff of April 30, 2001, will be needed to prove that they were physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000, the date that the new deadline became law. All eligible recipients will be ‘grandfathered-in’ under Section 245(i) despite they don’t actually apply for adjustment of status (by submitting form I-485) until after the April 30, 2001, cutoff, as long as a genuine immigrant petition or labor certification application is filed before that date.
There are certain eligibility criteria to receive a green card through Section 245(i) if:
- You are currently the recipient of a qualifying immigrant petition (either the original Form I-130 or I-140 through which you are grandfathered or through a subsequently filed immigrant petition).
- You were physically presented in the United States on December 21, 2000, if you are the principal recipient and the petition was filed between January 15, 1998, and April 30, 2001.
- You are the recipient of an eligible immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140) or application for labor certification (Form ETA-750) filed on or before April 30, 2001.
- You are admissible to the United States.
- You have a visa directly available to you.
Similarly, the qualifying immigrant visa petition or the qualifying application for labor certification must have been ‘properly filed’ (signed and submitted with the correct fees) and ‘permissible’ (deserving based on the facts and ‘non-volatile’) when filed.
Based on such conditions, a spouse or child of a grandfathered individual may also be a grandfathered or may be qualified to adjust their status as a dependent under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
To access a permanent residence (green card), you have to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You also have to file Form I-485, Supplement A, with fees at the same time unless you meet an exemption. For more information on exemptions, please see the instructions for Form I-485, Supplement A.
The new categories created by this act allow the issuance of non-immigrant visas to spouses, children and, in some cases, grandchildren of both lawful permanent resident aliens and spouses of U.S. citizens. Beneficiaries may apply for admission to the U.S. as non-immigrants and then remain in the U.S. until the visa petition is approved or denied.
The LIFE Act is specifically aimed at spouses and children for whom an immigrant visa or adjustment of status is not available as a result of processing delays or the lack of openings due to annual visa limitations.