Entering and Reentering the U.S. Illegally – Is 245i a solution?

Friday, April 28, 2017 | Last Updated: September 15, 2015
by Alex




At both our Sacramento and our San Francisco offices we often meet individuals who have entered the U.S. illegally via the border on more than one occasion. In specific circumstances, it is actually still possible to get your greencard. Take the following scenario:

Luis is a hardworking family man. In the early 1990s, Luis crossed the border into the U.S. as a young man in search of a better future. Since then, he has lived and worked in the U.S. except for two times that he returned to Mexico. Once, shortly after his arrival, he returned to Mexico during the holidays and a second time in 1996 to see his ailing mother. Luis has resided in the U.S. since prior to April 1, 1997. Luis does not have legal immigration status in the U.S. but it is possible for him to get his greencard. Here’s how:

The first possible method for Luis to get his greencard is by virtue of a law in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) called 245(i). If you are the beneficiary of a petition (I-130) filed by a family member OR filed an application for labor certification on or before April 30, 2001, AND if you were physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000 you may be able to obtain your greencard even though you entered illegally multiple times, as long as you were in the U.S. before 1997. Let’s say, for example, that Luis had a U.S. Citizen sister or if Luis had married a U.S. Citizen. If either of these women filed a petition (an I-130) on or before April 30, 2001, since Luis was in the U.S. on December 21, 2000, he could possibly get his greencard using the law called INA 245(i). Additionally, Luis doesn’t even need to use the same I-130 to get his greencard. His sister or his wife could have petitioned for him originally but now he can use a new petition (let’s say he has a U.S. Citizen son who is over 21) to get his greencard.

INA 245(i) is a complex law with numerous components so if think you might qualify please contact one of our offices. If you apply for your greencard without actually being eligible you could be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings so it is best to consult with us to ensure eligibility.

With the above option, note that the multiple illegal entries are before 1997. This date is important because a law called the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIRIRA”) became effective on April 1, 1997. Immigration law has many little nuances and with the right information you may be able to achieve your dreams rather than face deportation. Confide in our knowledge and experience to help guide you in your immigration matters – (916) 613 3553.