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New law creates a new opportunity for Liberians to apply for residency

| Dec 31, 2019 | Immigration |

While it has not received much attention, a new law passed on December 20, 2019 provides Liberians who have been in the United States since November 20, 2014 new option to apply for residency.

Titled the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, the new law allows qualifying Liberian nationals and their family to apply for residency (also known as a “green card”).

Who is eligible to apply?

There are some key eligibility requirements that you should know:

  • You must correctly file Form I-485 no later than December 20, 2020.
  • You must submit evidence that you are a national of Liberia.
  • You have been in the U.S. continuously from November 20, 2014 until the date that you submit your application.
  • Unlike most residency categories, you do not need to have entered the U.S. legally or be in lawful status now. There are, however, some other potential bars for issues like criminal convictions or past fraud.  Those bars may be waivable.  Therefore, we recommend speaking to an immigration attorney before filing.
  • You are eligible for lawful permanent residence for the U.S. If you are not eligible for permanent residence, eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility will also allow you to qualify for this program.

Some family members of applicants who meet the criteria above will be able to apply for residency as well.  They include:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under age 21
  • Unmarried children age 21 or older who are currently living in the U.S.

If you meet these eligibility criteria, it is crucial to act quickly. Most importantly, there is a one-year deadline to submit your application. Also, as discussed previously, application fees may be going up soon.

Consulting with one of our attorneys will help you determine whether you are eligible. We can help discuss the process in detail so that you understand what to expect with your application.

Bean + Lloyd, LLP, is an immigration law firm in Oakland, California.

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