Changes in the Processing of Waiver Applications -Part II


This is a second and concluding part of the article on changes in the processing of waiver applications under which an applicant who has incurred unlawful presence in the US and subject to 3/10 years bar and wished to travel abroad to apply for Immigrant Visa, would be able to apply for wavier application before departing from US.

Q. Who would be eligible for a provisional waiver?

A. Spouses and children of a U.S. citizen (1) who are seeking lawful permanent residence through an immigrant visa, (2) who are found inadmissible based on unlawful presence in the United States for more than 180 days, and (3) who meet the existing extreme hardship standard. Children under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence and, as a result, are not required to obtain a waiver.

Q. Why is this proposed streamlined process limited to the spouses and children of U.S. citizens?

A. The policy objective of this proposed process change is to alleviate extreme hardship suffered by U.S. citizens. USCIS has thus identified immediate relatives of U.S. citizens as the class of aliens to consider for this procedural change. In addition, their immigrant visas, which are not subject to annual limitations, are always immediately available. The focus on U.S. citizens and their immediate relatives is consistent with Congress’ prioritization in the immigration laws of family unification. This proposal meets the goals of both improving efficiency and reducing the length of time that American families are unnecessarily separated.

Q. How would the proposed process affect existing standards related to unlawful presence and the extreme hardship standard?

A. It would not. The proposed process retains all of the legal standards and policies related to unlawful presence determinations and establishing extreme hardship. It would simply provide for the processing of these waivers in the United States instead of abroad.

Q. Will individuals who receive the waiver be able to adjust their status without leaving the United States?

A. No. The visa process itself is not changing. Individuals who receive a provisional wavier would still be required to depart the United States to apply for their immigrant visa.

Q. Is everyone who has accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence subject to a three- or 10-year bar from entering the U.S.?

A. Yes; however, some aliens do not accrue unlawful presence if they fall into certain categories. For example, children under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence for any period of time before their 18th birthday. Similarly, under current law, certain victims of crime and alie