Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act
The Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act of 2000 (LIFE Act), among other things, allows certain people residing in the U.S. who might be eligible for an immigrant visa to apply for adjustment of status (to obtain legal permanent residence, i.e. get a green card) without having to leave the U.S. and go to a U.S. consulate abroad. This is particularly important because people who have been out of status (in certain circumstances) in the U.S. for more than 6 months would be barred from re-entering the U.S. for at least 3 years and as many 10 years. The immigration attorneys in our Michigan office can assist with determining whether you are eligible to benefit from the LIFE Act.
The LIFE Act assists those who are the beneficiary of a filed Labor Certification Application (LCA) or of an immigrant visa petition (I-130), or nearly any other application for permanent benefit. In order to take advantage of this provision, a beneficiary who had been present in the U.S. for more than one year. must have had filed on their behalf prior to April 30, 2001 either a LCA with the Department of Labor (DOL) or an approvable immigrant visa petition with the INS. The physical presence element of the Act requires that people who filed a petition or labor certification after January 14, 1998, but before April 30, 2001, prove that they were in the U.S. on December 21, 2000, the date the law was enacted, in order to qualify.
In an employment context, employees, or potential employees, who were eligible for permanent residence based on a job offer, benefited the most from the LIFE Act. However, spouses and certain other family members of U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) also benefitted and may still benefit. The LIFE Act is particularly advantageous for those who may have overstayed their visa, or otherwise violated the terms of a visa, worked without authorization, or even entered without inspection because the LIFE Act allows them to apply for adjustment of status from within the U.S. by paying an additional fee but without other penalties.
It is vital for both employers and immigrants to understand that the LIFE Act does not in authorize an immigrant to work. It merely allows people who have been illegally present in the U.S., or who do not otherwise qualify for adjustment, to apply for adjustment of status. The LIFE Act provides no other benefits in this context.
The LIFE Act allows individuals to utilize a new petition on the basis of the old. For example, a previously filed family petition may be used as the basis for a new work- or family-based petition. This "grandfathering" effect allows aliens to use petitions filed years earlier to permit current applications that would otherwise be barred.
There is a filing fee of $1,000, plus other fees, which is paid upon the filing of adjustment of status.
If you believe that an LCA or immigration visa petition, or other application, was filed on your behalf prior to April 30, 2001 and it was approved, or is approvable, we may be able to help you adjust your status to green card holder even now.
The Law Firm of Antone, Casagrande & Adwers, P.C. helps individuals and businesses worldwide with all of their US immigration needs including employment visas, obtaining green cards for business and corporate employees and family members, visas for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care workers, together with waivers for physicians under J visa training program, labor certifications (PERM), national interest waivers, marriage-based adjustments and green cards, fiancee visas, family immigration preferences, students, naturalization and citizenship, including medical waivers, asylum, deportation, hardship waivers, voluntary departure and removal. We serve clients in southeast Michigan including the Detroit Metro area, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. With offices in Farmington Hills, MI, we are close to Southfield, Troy, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Novi, Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County; Canton, Plymouth, Dearborn, and Detroit in Wayne County; Warren, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens in Macomb County; Brighton and Howell in Livingston County; Lansing in Ingham County; City of Monroe in Monroe County, Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County; Grand Rapids in Kent County; Battle Creek in Calhoun County; Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County; Benton Harbor in Berrien County; Holland in Ottawa County; Flint in Genesee County; Ludington in Mason County; Muskegon in Muskegon County; and Traverse City in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Although many of our clients are located in the tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we also serve clients in many cities and states in the U.S. including Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Galveston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; Virginia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and many others. In addition to the United States, we also serve Canadian nationals from numerous provinces in Canada, including Toronto and Windsor in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. We also serve cities and countries such as London, England; Scotland and other countries of the United Kingdom (U.K.); Mexico, Paris, France; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; India; Brazil; Rome, Italy; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Belgium; the Philippines, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.