According to Census Bureau statistics (2007), more than 12 million people (almost 4% of the total population of the U.S.) are authorized residents of the United States. In contrast, approximately 10 million people currently reside in the United States illegally. In 1952, Congress enacted Section 245 in the Immigration Law Act (INA) to legalize the undocumented immigrants such as temporary workers or international students to adjust their permanent lawful status without leaving and reentering the country.

Individuals already present in the United States could stay with their families and work while completing the immigration adjustment procedure through INA section 245(i). 

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, 1996 enhanced the manifest and relevancy of Section 245(i). According to this Act, individuals who entered the United States without authorization were subjected to severe penalties such as restrictions to return to their home country for several years.

Resultantly, undocumented immigrants faced a significant barrier and disincentive to leave and try to reenter legal status. Status adjustment of Section 245 (i) protected an individual from illegal fly abroad for a green card that can lead them towards activating the bars and keep them locked there for years. While it also leaves the door open to restoring legal status. 

How does INA 245(i) benefit undocumented immigrants?

Undocumented immigrants may benefit from INA 245(i) since it allows them to obtain a green card regardless of how they entered the country. This act will accommodate you, even you: 

  • Entered the United States unauthorized or unlawfully.
  • Worked unauthorizedly. 
  • Haven’t had lawful status since entering the United States.

Initially, immigration restrictions and sanctions were very harsh, but now authorities established flexible laws to protect the public interest and facilitate them accordingly.  

Who is eligible for a Green card under INA 245(i)?

 Under INA 245, there are relatively tight eligibility requirements for a green card. However, to be eligible for adjustment of status, there are the following qualifying requirements that need to meet in whole essence;

  • A person must file a qualifying immigration petition (Form I-30 or I-40). 
  • Alternatively, if he is not a beneficiary of Forms I-30 or I-40, he must apply for a labor certificate on or before April 30, 2001.  
  • The person must have been physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000. 
  • You must be a current I-30 or I-40 recipient (immigrant petition). 
  • Fill out Form I-485 and supplement A to register as a permanent resident or change your status. 
  • Pay the fee. 
  • Physical presence in the United States when filing Form i-485 and Supplement A.
  • Visa availability.

How to get a green card for your spouse or children?

You will almost certainly be granted permanent residency if you apply for a green card via INA 245(i). Depending on your application, you may also be eligible to obtain a green card for your spouse and children. 

How to apply for INA 245(i)?

The application process of INA 245(i) is quite simple. Following are the steps that are needed to be fulfilled to apply for permanent residency or status adjustment; 

  1. First and foremost, download the original form I-485, fill its all required sections with the necessary information and file the application.  
  2. File supplement A (when and where it requires). 
  3. Pay the fee.
  4. Attach all required documents with your form, such as; 
  • Photographs
  • Identity documents
  • Birth certificates
  • Copy of a nonimmigrant visa
  • Passport page
  • Parole stamp

Note: There are some other documents that you must attach with the form as evidence;

  • Medical Examination Report (I-693)
  • Arrival/departure records (Form I-94)
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)
  • Declaration of Self-sufficiency (Form I-944)
  • If you are not adjusting based on a grandfathered immigrant petition, Form I-797, Notice of Action, either the simultaneously filed immigrant petition or the pending or approved immigrant petition you are using as your basis of adjustment.
  • You also needed to prove your physical presence in the United States on December 21, 2000. 

Furthermore, if a U.S. employer files a labor certification or Form I-140 for an unlawful individual as a beneficiary and is proven to be intentionally employing them without a USCIS work permit, the employer will face repercussions. The filing of Form I-485 under section 245(i) does not protect an individual from being deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they are found to be inadmissible for any reason. 

What to do after submitting your application?

After submitting your application for INA 245(i), you will get an email from USCIS to inform the date of the biometric screening session. This is a crucial step in determining a person’s criminal history using biometrics that will merely take a few minutes to record your signature and fingerprints. After filing the application, within a few months, USCIS will schedule your interview to confirm the information provided by you and your petitioner in the status adjustment application. It’s also an opportunity for them to assess whether anything in your life has changed that would make you ineligible. Therefore, you must get yourself fully prepared for an interview.  


  • retrieved on February 6, 2022. 
  • retrieved on February 6, 2022.
  • retrieved February 6, 2022.