USCIS Announces Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Process
On March 4, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications for a new provisional waiver process that will allow qualifying immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents) of U.S. citizens currently present in the U.S. and seeking permanent residence to apply for and receive provisional unlawful presence waivers without leaving the U.S. If the waiver is approved, applicants will still be required to depart the U.S. and process for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Under the current process, immediate relatives must apply for the waiver at a U.S. consulate abroad and remain outside of the U.S. while the waiver is processed. Eligible applicants for the new process must be inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence and demonstrate denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. The provisional waiver process is expected to significantly reduce the amount of time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives during the immigrant visa process.