First, the warning: THIS IS NOT LAW YET. It is only a proposal. But it still is a good idea to learn about it and plan, because if there is reform, there's a good chance that some or most of this bill will make it into the final law. But do NOT apply for anything, and do NOT pay anyone to file anything.
Now on to business.
"Registered Provision Immigrant" is the new status that will allow the current undocumented population in the United States, estimated at 11+ million, to become "documented." This means they will have the ability to work for any employer, and also have the ability to travel in and out of the United States.
The main qualifications are:
- Must have been in the US since on or before December 31, 2011.
- Any absences from the US after December 31, 2011 must be "brief, casual or innocent" (similar to the regulations for TPS and DACA)
- Cannot have a felony (as defined by the convicting court)
- Cannot have an aggravated felony (as defined by the immigration law)
- Cannot have more than 3 misdemeanors, BUT - minor traffic offenses do not count, and multiple misdemeanors on the same day are counted as one misdemeanor
- All federal income taxes must be paid in full before filing.
Other important points in the proposal:
- You must file within 1 year of the law becoming active. (This may be extended for another 18 months, but that is not guaranteed.)
- There is no "affidavit of support" requirement for RPI status (INA 213A - filed on Form I-864)
- People who entered the country illegally ("EWI" or entry without inspection), or without a visa, or were ordered deported, or stayed past a grant of voluntary departure, or illegally re-entered the US after being deported, can all apply for RPI status, so long as any illegal entry or reentry does not occur after the date the proposal becomes law.
- The definition of a "conviction" is different from the rest of immigration law. It does not include expunged convictions, or those that have been set aside, or an "equivalent" disposition. Normally, even an expunged conviction may still be a conviction under immigration law. So it's good that not all convictions will bar eligibility for RPI status.
- There are limited provisions for waivers in case a person does not qualify 100%.
Dependents (children and spouses) of RPI applicants can also get derivative RPI status. But they must actually be spouses (that means you should actually get married) and not divorce before gaining status. If the dependent does not qualify as a dependent, they may be able to apply independently. Ordinarily, though, families should be able to apply together on one single form. The proposal does not say whether only one set of filing fees would apply; it seems reasonable to conclude they probably would not.
From these requirements, it is clear that it may take some time for some people to qualify. For example, all taxes must be paid before filing, and you only have 1 year to file. If you owe a lot of back taxes, you might want to start tackling that problem now.
- If you are living with your long-time girlfriend or boyfriend or fiancée, and are living as a married couple, go get married.
- If you have never filed taxes, start now. File all back taxes. You can get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) quite easily with your first return.
- Begin collecting any and all evidence of your physical presence in the US prior to December 31, 2011. Contact us with any questions you may have.
- Get copies of all criminal records. Even the expungements. If something is eligible for expungement, get it expunged. Contact a lawyer for help.
As always, contact us (via the form on the right) with any questions. Keep checking back here as we continue to analyze other portions of the proposal, and be sure to read our outline summary of the entire proposal.
And remember - THERE IS NO NEW LAW YET. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you. Be on guard for fraud, and don't be a victim.