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Exceptions to the Bars to Adjustment of Status

By February 18, 2022Immigration
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While not all noncitizens who appear to qualify to apply for a green card through Adjustment of Status will actually qualify due to the fact that the noncitizen may be exposed to an underlying bar to the Adjustment of Status process, some of these noncitizens exposed to a bar may qualify for an exception to the bar under some circumstances. You can read our discussion about the Adjustment of Status process including the procedure to apply by reviewing our blog post here.

Noncitizen Crewman

Noncitizen crewman although specifically disqualified from the Adjustment of Status process may still qualify for Adjustment of Status if they are considered a qualifying victim of abuse under the VAWA program. You can review our blog post on VAWA here.

Noncitizens who entered the United States lawfully but fell out of lawful immigration status or who accepted unauthorized employment.

The following noncitizens will qualify for an exception to the bar to Adjustment of Status:

Noncitizens who qualify as VAWA Applicants.

Noncitizens who are Immediate Relatives who entered lawfully but who fell out of lawful immigration status.

Noncitizens who are considered Special Immigrants such as certain Religious Workers, Special Immigrant Juveniles, who have been discussed here; Certain Afghanistan and Iraq Nationals; Certain G-4 International Organization Employees, NATO-6 Employees  and their family members.

Noncitizens who are eligible for a green card through an employment based green card petition. They will be exempted from the bar based on their failure to maintain lawful status, engaging in unauthorized employment or violating the terms and conditions of their visa admission as long as the violation did not exceed 180 days.

Noncitizens admitted in transit without a visa who stayed in the United States.

Similar to crewman, may still qualify for Adjustment of Status if they are considered a qualifying victim of abuse under the VAWA program.

Noncitizens who entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program

Will qualify for Adjustment of Status if they are considered a qualifying victim of abuse under the VAWA program.

Noncitizens who are Immediate Relatives who entered lawfully but who fell out of lawful immigration status.

Noncitizens who have been involved in terrorist activity

Will qualify for Adjustment of Status if they are considered a qualifying victim of abuse under the VAWA program.

Adjustment of Status under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

This law can be viewed as a “catch all” provision that will qualify noncitizens subject to one of the bars to be permitted to apply for a green card through the Adjustment of Status process. However, keep in mind that to qualify the noncitizen must have been the beneficiary of a green card petition filed with the immigration service on or before on of the two sunset dates set under the law. You can review our detailed discussion about Adjustment of Status under section 245(i) here.

Keep in mind that these are exceptions to the technical bars to Adjustment of Status. These exceptions do not serve to exempt other bars that may disqualify a green card applicant such as bars resulting from criminal law offenses or violations based on fraudulent conduct. Because of the complexities presented by immigration processes,  it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to confirm whether you will qualify for a green and whether you may qualify for a green card through the Adjustment of Status process.

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