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The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act was introduced as part of the Congressional bill H.R. 5548 under Title XI: Encouraging Immigrant Family Reunification. It was passed by the 106th Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 21, 2000. The LIFE Act amended multiple sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Section 1102 of the LIFE Act granted temporary visas for spouses of permanent resident aliens–or for their minor children–whose immigrant visa petitions had been pending or approved for 3 years or more prior to the LIFE Act’s passing, but who were waiting for visa availability. Further, the section allowed individuals granted temporary visas to work and study while their petitions were pending.

Section 1103 of the LIFE Act expanded the availability of K visas; previously, K visas were available only for fiancés of U.S. citizens, whereas the under this section K visas would also be available to non-resident spouses of U.S. citizens, as well as minor children of a non-resident spouse or fiancé. This allowed the non-resident spouses and minor children to enter the United States while waiting for their status to be adjusted rather than completing the application process from outside of the country.

Section 1104 of the LIFE Act pertained to members of certain class action lawsuits against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Those members who had filed their claim for class membership before October 1, 2000 could apply for an adjustment of their status to permanent resident if certain requirements enumerated in the Act were met.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]