8 U.S.C. § 1255a - Adjustment of status of certain entrants before January 1, 1982, to that of person admitted for lawful residence

Cite as:8 U.S.C. § 1255a
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) Temporary resident status

The Attorney General shall adjust the status of an alien to that of an alien lawfully admitted for temporary residence if the alien meets the following requirements:

(1) Timely application

(A) During application period

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the alien must apply for such adjustment during the 12-month period beginning on a date (not later than 180 days after November 6, 1986) designated by the Attorney General.

(B) Application within 30 days of show-cause order

An alien who, at any time during the first 11 months of the 12-month period described in subparagraph (A), is the subject of an order to show cause issued under section 1252 of this title (as in effect before October 1, 1996), must make application under this section not later than the end of the 30-day period beginning either on the first day of such 12-month period or on the date of the issuance of such order, whichever day is later.

(C) Information included in application

Each application under this subsection shall contain such information as the Attorney General may require, including information on living relatives of the applicant with respect to whom a petition for preference or other status may be filed by the applicant at any later date under section 1154(a) of this title.

(2) Continuous unlawful residence since 1982

(A) In general

The alien must establish that he entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and that he has resided continuously in the United States in an unlawful status since such date and through the date the application is filed under this subsection.

(B) Nonimmigrants

In the case of an alien who entered the United States as a nonimmigrant before January 1, 1982, the alien must establish that the alien's period of authorized stay as a nonimmigrant expired before such date through the passage of time or the alien's unlawful status was known to the Government as of such date.

(C) Exchange visitors

If the alien was at any time a nonimmigrant exchange alien (as defined in section 1101(a)(15)(J) of this title), the alien must establish that the alien was not subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of section 1182(e) of this title or has fulfilled that requirement or received a waiver thereof.

(3) Continuous physical presence since November 6, 1986

(A) In general

The alien must establish that the alien has been continuously physically present in the United States since November 6, 1986.

(B) Treatment of brief, casual, and innocent absences

An alien shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence in the United States for purposes of subparagraph (A) by virtue of brief, casual, and innocent absences from the United States.

(C) Admissions

Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing an alien to apply for admission to, or to be admitted to, the United States in order to apply for adjustment of status under this subsection.

(4) Admissible as immigrant

The alien must establish that he-

(A) is admissible to the United States as an immigrant, except as otherwise provided under subsection (d)(2),

(B) has not been convicted of any felony or of three or more misdemeanors committed in the United States,

(C) has not assisted in the persecution of any person or persons on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and

(D) is registered or registering under the Military Selective Service Act [ 50 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.], if the alien is required to be so registered under that Act.

For purposes of this subsection, an alien in the status of a Cuban and Haitian entrant described in paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of section 501(e) of Public Law 96-422 [ 8 U.S.C. 1522 note] shall be considered to have entered the United States and to be in an unlawful status in the United States.

(b) Subsequent adjustment to permanent residence and nature of temporary resident status

(1) Adjustment to permanent residence

The Attorney General shall adjust the status of any alien provided lawful temporary resident status under subsection (a) to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien meets the following requirements:

(A) Timely application after one year's residence

The alien must apply for such adjustment during the 2-year period beginning with the nineteenth month that begins after the date the alien was granted such temporary resident status.

(B) Continuous residence

(i) In general

The alien must establish that he has continuously resided in the United States since the date the alien was granted such temporary resident status.

(ii) Treatment of certain absences

An alien shall not be considered to have lost the continuous residence referred to in clause (i) by reason of an absence from the United States permitted under paragraph (3)(A).

(C) Admissible as immigrant

The alien must establish that he-

(i) is admissible to the United States as an immigrant, except as otherwise provided under subsection (d)(2), and

(ii) has not been convicted of any felony or three or more misdemeanors committed in the United States.

(D) Basic citizenship skills

(i) In general

The alien must demonstrate that he either-

(I) meets the requirements of section 1423(a) of this title (relating to minimal understanding of ordinary English and a knowledge and understanding of the history and government of the United States), or

(II) is satisfactorily pursuing a course of study (recognized by the Attorney General) to achieve such an understanding of English and such a knowledge and understanding of the history and government of the United States.

(ii) Exception for elderly or developmentally disabled individuals

The Attorney General may, in his discretion, waive all or part of the requirements of clause (i) in the case of an alien who is 65 years of age or older or who is developmentally disabled.

(iii) Relation to naturalization examination

In accordance with regulations of the Attorney General, an alien who has demonstrated under clause (i)(I) that the alien meets the requirements of section 1423(a) of this title may be considered to have satisfied the requirements of that section for purposes of becoming naturalized as a citizen of the United States under subchapter III.

(2) Termination of temporary residence

The Attorney General shall provide for termination of temporary resident status granted an alien under subsection (a)-

(A) if it appears to the Attorney General that the alien was in fact not eligible for such status;

(B) if the alien commits an act that (i) makes the alien inadmissible to the United States as an immigrant, except as otherwise provided under subsection (d)(2), or (ii) is convicted of any felony or three or more misdemeanors committed in the United States; or

(C) at the end of the 43rd month beginning after the date the alien is granted such status, unless the alien has filed an application for adjustment of such status pursuant to paragraph (1) and such application has not been denied.

(3) Authorized travel and employment during temporary residence

During the period an alien is in lawful temporary resident status granted under subsection (a)-

(A) Authorization of travel abroad

The Attorney General shall, in accordance with regulations, permit the alien to return to the United States after such brief and casual trips abroad as reflect an intention on the part of the alien to adjust to lawful permanent resident status under paragraph (1) and after brief temporary trips abroad occasioned by a family obligation involving an occurrence such as the illness or death of a close relative or other family need.

(B) Authorization of employment

The Attorney General shall grant the alien authorization to engage in employment in the United States and provide to that alien an "employment authorized" endorsement or other appropriate work permit.

(c) Applications for adjustment of status

(1) To whom may be made

The Attorney General shall provide that applications for adjustment of status under subsection (a) may be filed-

(A) with the Attorney General, or

(B) with a qualified designated entity, but only if the applicant consents to the forwarding of the application to the Attorney General.

As used in this section, the term "qualified designated entity" means an organization or person designated under paragraph (2).

(2) Designation of qualified entities to receive applications

For purposes of assisting in the program of legalization provided under this section, the Attorney General-

(A) shall designate qualified voluntary organizations and other qualified State, local, and community organizations, and

(B) may designate such other persons as the Attorney General determines are qualified and have substantial experience, demonstrated competence, and traditional long-term involvement in the preparation and submittal of applications for adjustment of status under section 1159 or 1255 of this title, Public Law 89-732 [ 8 U.S.C. 1255 note], or Public Law 95-145 [ 8 U.S.C. 1255 note].

(3) Treatment of applications by designated entities

Each qualified designated entity must agree to forward to the Attorney General applications filed with it in accordance with paragraph (1)(B) but not to forward to the Attorney General applications filed with it unless the applicant has consented to such forwarding. No such entity may make a determination required by this section to be made by the Attorney General.

(4) Limitation on access to information

Files and records of qualified designated entities relating to an alien's seeking assistance or information with respect to filing an application under this section are confidential and the Attorney General and the Service shall not have access to such files or records relating to an alien without the consent of the alien.

(5) Confidentiality of information

(A) In general

Except as provided in this paragraph, neither the Attorney General, nor any other official or employee of the Department of Justice, or bureau or agency thereof, may-

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