Since March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are immediate relatives (spouses, children and parents) of U.S. Citizens (USC) have been able to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to leaving the United States for their consular interview. On August 29, 2016, this waiver was expanded to include all individuals who are statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa. This is great news considering that the prior process for these foreign nationals called for them to leave the country, attend the consular interview and be found to be inadmissible prior to applying for this waiver. Once the waiver application was submitted, they had to wait outside the United States while the application was being processes by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This time period could last years.
With the expansion, USCIS has emphasized the need to support family unity and the importance of family relationships when it comes to immigration. These changes have now expanded to immediate relatives, family-sponsored, employment-based immigrants and Diversity Visa selectees who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence bars pursuant to §212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The goal of the expansion was to shorten the time that USC’s and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) family members are separated from their relatives.
Besides having an approved petition, the relative must prove that their USC or LPR spouse or parent would face “Extreme Hardship” if they were not allowed to return to United States. Proving this is the most important part of the waiver package. A qualified immigration attorney can help you prove extreme hardship so that you stand the best chance of getting the waiver approved.
If you believe you, or someone you know, qualifies for the newly expanded provisional unlawful presence waiver, please contact us today at (561) 826-9339.