Can foreigners legally in the US apply for RPI status?

Flores writes, "I came to the United States on F-1 Visa in 2009 and have been studying since then.  At this time my visa is still valid, but I am now wondering if I should apply to adjust my status to RPI immigrantAm I eligible even though I am currently legal.  My only concern is that since I came I have been traveling overseas."

If you have not left the United States after 12/31/11 and you meet all other requirements, all you have to do is to wait for your F1 status to expire and voluntarily become illegal (that would make it impossible for you to travel overseas till you get approved as a Registered Provisional Immigrant).  It is very important that an alien not leave the US after 31st December, 2011 to maintain continuous presence, though, it would not be surprising if USCIS relaxes that requirement to forgive brief and innocent absences (a term preferred by the agency meant to not penalize immigrants who left the country to attend to important business overseas but still maintained strong ties to the US -- so if you simply traveled to meet with family or vacation or attend a technical conference but were still enrolled in an American university and pursued your education).  The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (BSEOIM) is designed to encourage illegal immigration because that would be a faster route to legalization than waiting for a legal path to open up.  This is nothing new because even during the Reagan Amnesty, it was better to apply for legalization as an illegal immigrant than as a legal immigrant.

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