U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: Prospective Immigrant Status Explained

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick breaks down the new “Lawful Prospective Immigrant Status” category proposed by the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a new piece of legislation introduced by Congressional Democrats.

Want to know more about this new relief for undocumented immigrants?

Keep on watching to learn more.


The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is a brand-new bill that was recently proposed by President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats. Much buzz has been created around this bill because it proposes an earned pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States on or before January 1, 2021.

While this bill still needs to pass the House and the Senate, in order to become law, it brings us one step closer to a lasting resolution for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Under the new bill, a new category of lawful immigration status would be created also known as “lawful prospective immigrant status” or LPI. Specifically, the new bill proposes adding a section to the Immigration and Nationality Act known as 245(B), which would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant “lawful prospective immigrant status” to certain individuals who meet the requirements.

Such requirements would include passing a criminal background check, completing the application, and paying the filing fees. Dependents would be included in the primary application for lawful prospective immigrant status and would not need to file a separate application to receive benefits.

What exactly is LPI?

Undocumented immigrants who arrived on or before January 1, 2021, would be eligible to receive “lawful prospective immigrant status” or “LPI,” a provisional temporary type of status that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States lawfully for a six-year period of time. This provisional status would act as a “gateway” to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residence and citizenship in the future. Hence, the “earned” pathway to citizenship.

Lawful prospective immigrant status would look similar to a green card and would allow undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States lawfully. LPI holders would also be able to freely travel in and out of the United States and join the military.

How long would LPI status last?

LPI status would last for a six-year period and could be extended for an additional six years.

Under section 245(C) of the bill, after five-years of having provisional LPI period of status, immigrants would become eligible to apply for green card. Green card applicants would need to pass criminal background checks and be otherwise eligible to receive a green card. Thereafter, immigrants would be able to apply for citizenship on their third anniversary of being a green card holder.

Ineligible Applicants

Those who were in the United States in legal status on January 1, 2021, will not be eligible for LPI status under this bill, even if they were to later fall out of status.

What about DACA recipients, TPS holders, and farm workers?

Under this new bill, those with DACA, individuals eligible for TPS, and farm workers with a demonstrated work history would be exempted from the “LPI” provisional status and would be permitted to apply for permanent residence directly, without having to wait 5 years to apply for permanent residence, through an expedited “fast track” type of processing.

V Nonimmigrant Visa

The bill also expands a special visa category that promotes family reunification called the V nonimmigrant visa type. This is a special visa type that has been created to allow families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas.

While the V visa is currently available only to spouses and minor children of green card holders. The bill would extend the V nonimmigrant visa to families sponsored by a legal permanent resident. Such individuals would be able to enter the United States using the visa and avoid having to wait for a visa to become available from their home country.

Want to know more about LPI? Please click here to read our blog post.

Questions? If you have immigration questions and would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549.

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