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Understanding The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act
The LIFE Act, or Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, was signed into law in 2000 and provides an alternate way for immigrants to expedite their citizenship applications. Prior to the LIFE Act, immigrants could only stay in the United States on a temporary work visa for a certain amount of time. If they overstayed this period of time, they would not be allowed to apply for permanent residency. Immigrants would have to return to their home countries before they could apply for a green card.
Thankfully, lawmakers saw that this was a problem and instituted the LIFE Act, which creates a new "V Visa," or sort of temporary permanent authorization while your permanent residency and green card applications are being processed. It sets legal protections in place so that you can continue your new life in the United States without having to worry about your temporary visa expiring. Most attorneys agree that it represents a progressive move forward for immigration reform.
However, not everybody can receive a V visa. You should consult with an immigration attorney to see if you are eligible for protection under the LIFE Act. As your work visa expires, you should seriously consider whether you want to stay in the United States. if you do, you will need to go about the proper legal channels or risk deportation.
How To Get A V Visa Through The LIFE Act
Eligibility criteria for a V Visa include:
- You must have a current immigrant visa and be admissible to the United States.
- You must be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition or labor certification application filed on or before April 30, 2001.
- You must have been physically present in the United States on December 21, 2000.
What The LIFE Act Does Not Do
The LIFE Act does not offer amnesty to anyone who has committed a crime as an immigrant to the United States. It does not protect individuals from deportation if they fail to behave according to their current visa agreements. It is merely a new visa designed to make the legal pathways to citizenship a little easier. If you believe that you qualify for a V Visa under the LIFE Act, consult with your lawyer today!