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The Accrual of Unlawful Presence
An alien must be in the United States in an unlawful status in order to accrue unlawful presence; however, there are some situations in which unlawful presence does not accrue despite unlawful status:
In the case of an alien who:
By policy, USCIS has extended the 120-day statutory tolling period to cover the entire period during which an application for EOS or COS is pending; this extension is valid for the 3-year and the 10-year bars.
Effect of a Decision on the Request for Extension of Status (EOS) or Change of Status (COS) on Unlawful Presence
The following information pertains to applications requesting EOS or COS, or petitions that include requests for EOS or COS.
If a request for EOS or COS is approved, the alien will be granted a new period of authorized stay, retroactive to the date the previous period of authorized stay expired. This applies to aliens admitted until a specific date and aliens admitted for D/S.
If a request for EOS or COS is denied because it was frivolous or because the alien engaged in unauthorized employment, any and all time after the expiration date marked on Form I-94 , Arrival/Departure Record, will be considered unlawful presence time, if the alien was admitted until a specific date. However, if the alien was admitted for D/S, unlawful presence begins to accrue on the date the request is denied.
If a request for EOS or COS is denied because it was not timely filed, unlawful presence begins to accrue on the date Form I-94 expired. If, however, the alien was admitted for D/S, unlawful presence begins to accrue the day after the request is denied.
If a timely filed, non-frivolous request for EOS or COS is denied for cause, unlawful presence begins to accrue the day after the request is denied.
Accrual of unlawful presence stops on the date the application is properly filed pursuant to 8 CFR 103 and the regulatory filing requirements governing the particular type of benefit sought.
Note that, if the application is properly filed according to the regulatory requirements, the applicant will not accrue unlawful presence, even if it is ultimately determined that the applicant was not eligible for the benefit in the first place. The accrual of unlawful presence is tolled until the application is denied.
An alien, who has been unlawfully in the United States for 90 days, and who had worked without authorization during the 90 days, applies for adjustment of status based on an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
The application for adjustment of status is properly filed, that is, the application is fully executed, signed, and the applicant pays the proper fee. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(7) . Also, with the application package, the alien provides a copy of Form I-797 , Notice of Approval for the Alien Relative Petition, and a copy of the newest Visa Bulletin, demonstrating that a visa number is immediately available in his or her preference category. See 8 CFR 245.2.
Therefore, USCIS accepts the application and stamps it as received and properly filed as of January 1, 2007. What is not readily apparent from the initial review of the application is that the alien had previously worked without authorization, and therefore, he or she is not eligible to apply for adjustment of status pursuant to section 245(c) of the Act.
However, because the application was accepted by USCIS as (technically) properly filed, the applicant is now in authorized stay and does not accrue any unlawful presence during the pendency of the properly filed application for adjustment of status.
At the time of the interview, on April 1, 2007, the applicant’s adjustment of status application is denied based on section 245(c) of the Act, for having been employed without authorization.
On April 2, 2007, the alien’s accrual of unlawful presence resumes because he or she no longer has a pending application for adjustment of status. The alien departs the United States on May 1, 2007, after having secured an immigrant visa interview at the US Embassy/consular section in his or her home country.
In assessing the alien’s inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9) of the Act, the consular officer will count the alien’s 90 days of unlawful presence that accrued prior to the filing of the adjustment of status application, and the 30 days of unlawful presence that accrued after the adjustment of status application was denied.
However, the consular officer will not count the time period during which the adjustment of status application was pending because the individual was in a period of stay authorized and did not accrue unlawful presence during the pendency of the adjustment application.
Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.
At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past fifteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free evaluation.
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