The Priority Date for Adult, Unmarried Children of US Citizens/Permanent Residents who are under 245(i) is now current
Thousands of people living in the United States who have been unable to apply for permanent residence for many years have recently become eligible to apply now that the F2-B and F-1 categories of visa petitions have become current.
This is due in part to Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which allows certain unauthorized immigrants who are physically present in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status even if they had entered the United States without authorization. Under 245(i), such people if otherwise eligible could waive the consequences of a one-time entry without inspection that did not involve fraud and adjust status upon payment of a $1,000 penalty in addition to any other fees due. The set of people who are protected by 245(i) is continually shrinking however, because an applicant must have started the immigration process with a filed family petition on or before April 30, 2001 to enjoy 245(i) protection.
For many years, the spouses and minor children (under 21 years ) of U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been applying under 245(i), but other relatives such as adult children of those same U.S. citizens and permanent residents could not do so.
Why not? Simply because adult children are in different "visa categories" of a lower priority than the categories that apply to spouses and minor children. Persons in those lower priority categories have been required to wait until their "priority date comes current." Everyone with a pending family case has a "priority date" which reflects the date they began their case. The higher priority categories advance faster, which is why applications from 2001 in those categories have been eligible for years while applications from 2001 in lower categories have not.
However, the priority date now being processed is May 1, 2001. Since the cut-off date for receiving 245(i) protection is April 30, 2001, this means that the thousands and thousands of people who scrambled to apply just before the cutoff date for receiving 245(i) protections are now at last able to use that 245(i) protection and complete the process they began more than 20 years ago.
But not all of them, not yet. Specifically, the categories that have advanced to May 1, 2001 as of today (June 2, 2022) are F1 (unmarried adult children of US citizens) and F-2B (adult unmarried children of Lawful Permanent Residents). If you are the adult son or daughter of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident who enjoys 245(i) protection because your case was filed on or before April 30, 2001, USCIS is at last prepared to accept your application for Permanent Residence.
As always however, no one should file immigration papers of any kind without first consulting with a competent attorney well versed in immigration law. Filing for something that you are in any way not qualified for can lead to serious adverse consequences. If you think this development affects you, it would be wise to find out whether you should apply. Note that other categories, including brothers and sisters of US citizens and the married children of US citizens do not yet have their priority date current. Married children of Lawful Permanent Residents are not eligible for a family-based visa at all through that relationship.
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