Do I Qualify for Immigration Reform?

This is a question we receive a lot at our law office. We have a lot of potential clients and current clients who may qualify for immigration reform if made law in its current form. The U.S. Senate passed it’s comprehensive immigration reform bill on June 27, 2013 and now it will go before the U.S. House of Representatives for debate. Although there is no law yet, Peek & Toland Law Firm wanted to list out the most frequently asked questions about immigration reform qualifications on this website for our readers to review how the current immigration reform bill could potentially affect them. We tried our best to answer these questions based on the current proposed immigration reform bill before the U.S. Senate. If you have further questions about what you may be currently eligible for under current U.S. immigration law, please input your information in the contact form below or call our office at 512-474-4445.

Unlawful Immigration Qualifications

Who qualifies for Registered Provisional Immigration (RPI) Status?

Individuals who are in unlawful status who have:

  • Residence in the U.S. prior to December 31, 2011 who have maintained continuous physical presence since that period of time,
  • Paid a $500.00 penalty fee (except for DACA eligible students), and accessed taxes, and
  • Are not ineligible.

How can someone be ineligible for RPI status?

An individual can be ineligible if he or she is:

  • Convicted of an aggravated felony;
  • Convicted of a felony;
  • Convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors;
  • Convicted of an offense under foreign law;
  • Unlawfully voted; and
  • Inadmissible for criminal, national security, public health, or other morality grounds.

What are the benefits of applying for RPI Status?

Spouses and children of people in RPI status can be petitioned for as derivatives of the principle application if they are living in the U.S. at the time of the RPI’s application. Additionally, immigrants in RPI status may work in the U.S. and travel outside the U.S.

Individuals living outside the U.S. who were previously in the U.S. before December 31, 2011 and were deported for non-criminal reasons may re-apply to re-enter the U.S. in RPI status if they are the spouses of, parent of a child who is a U.S. citizen, or lawful permanent resident, or are a childhood arrival who is eligible for the DREAM Act.

How long will the application period be for RPI status?

The application period will be for 1 year with the possibility of extension by the Secretary for 1 additional year.

Do I need to renew my RPI status?

Yes. Those who become RPI’s will need to renew their RPI status every six years. RPI status is only renewable if the RPI does not commit any acts that would render the immigrant deportable. Another $500 penalty is applicable at the time of renewal.

Will RPI’s ever be able to adjust their status or become citizens of the U.S.?

After 10 years, immigrants in RPI status may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status through the same Merit Based System everyone else must use to earn a green card if the immigrant can show the following:

  • He or she maintained continuous presence,
  • He or she paid all taxes owed during the period that he or she was in status as an RPI,
  • He or she worked in the U.S. regularly,
  • He or she can demonstrate knowledge of Civics and English,
  • All people currently waiting for family and employment green cards as of the date of enactment have had their priority date become current, and
  • He or she pays a $1,000 penalty fee.

What if I am already facing removal or deportation proceedings?

Individuals with removal orders or in removal proceedings will be eligible to apply once the bill is enacted.

Are there any benefits for someone who has DACA status to apply for RPI status?

A DACA status young person, or a person who has already applied and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, will receive the same benefits that a regular RPI receives. In addition, a DACA status young person will also be able to receive his or her green card in 5 years and be eligible for citizenship immediately after the young person receives his or her green card.

Will an RPI be eligible for an federal public benefits?

No.

Legal Immigration Qualifications

What changes will there be to legal family based immigration?

The new bill will eliminate sibling visas for U.S. citizens, covering visas only for unmarried adult children to include married adult children who file before age 31 and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents under the V visa.

Will there be any changes to who is defined as an immediate relative under the Senate bill?

Yes. “Immediate relative” under the Senate bill only includes a child or spouse of an immigrant admitted for lawful permanent residence, and the child or spouse of an immigrant who is accompanying or following to join the child, parent or spouse of a U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident.

What is the new H-1B cap under the immigration reform bill?

The current cap for H-1B visas is 65,000 per year, the immigration reform bill sets the H-1B cap at 180,000 H-1B visas per year.

Who will qualify for an H-1B cap under the immigration reform bill?

A few examples of qualifying H-1B visa eligible workers are teachers, scientific researchers, engineers, healthcare professionals, nurses, doctors, information technology professionals, lawyers and legal professionals, business professionals, bankers, accountants, advertisers, those in sales or public relations professionals.

Don’t wait. Sign up to be the first to know when Immigration Reform becomes law.

Peek & Toland Law Firm receives numerous questions about the requirements for qualifying for immigration reform. We have listed out some of the most common questions we receive on a daily basis. If you are concerned about determining whether you qualify or if you would like to know more about the immigration reform qualifications, please contact our office at 512-474-4445 or fill out the form below.

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