The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a new process that will allow certain spouses, children, and parents of a U.S. citizen (immediate relatives) to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they are still in the United States and before departing for their immigrant visa interviews abroad.
Why did DHS create the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?
Currently certain immediate relatives must travel abroad to obtain an immigrant visa from the Department of State (DOS) before they can return to the United States and be admitted as lawful permanent residents. In many cases, these immediate relatives also must request a waiver of inadmissibility of their unlawful presence in the United States. As a result, these immediate relatives must remain outside of the United States, separated from their U.S. citizen spouses, parents, or children, while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates their waiver applications. In some cases, waiver application processing can be lengthy, prolonging the separation of these immediate relatives from their U.S. citizen spouses, parents, and children.
USCIS anticipates that this new provisional unlawful presence waiver process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives. USCIS approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to departure also will allow the DOS consular officer to issue an immigrant visa without delay, as long as there are no other grounds of inadmissibility and the immediate relative is otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa. Individuals who may be inadmissible on any other grounds of inadmissibility, are not eligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver process.
How do I know if I am eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver?
You may be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if:
1. You are physically present in the United States;
2. You are at least 17 years of age at the time of filing;
3. You are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition classifying you as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen;
4. You have an immigrant visa case pending with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), for which you have already paid the immigrant visa processing fee; and
5. You believe you are, or will be at the time of the immigrant visa interview, inadmissible based on having accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States.
6. You meet all other requirements of the provisional unlawful presence waiver as listed in the regulations, the Form I-601A and its instructions.
How do I know if I am NOT eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver?
You are not eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver and your application will be rejected or denied if:
1. You do not meet one or more of the requirements listed above;
2. You have a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS;
3. You are in removal proceedings unless your removal proceedings are administratively closed and have not been re-calendared as of the date of filing of the I-601A;
4. You have been ordered removed, excluded, or deported from the United States;
5. You are subject to reinstatement of a prior removal order;
6. DOS acted to schedule your immigrant visa interview prior to January 3, 2013, even if you failed to appear or you or DOS cancelled or rescheduled the interview on or after January 3, 2013.
7. You do not establish that the refusal of your admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent, or that your application should be approved as a matter of discretion;
8. USCIS has reason to believe that DOS may find you inadmissible at the time of your immigrant visa interview for grounds