January 11, 2013

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the creation of a new process that will allow certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they are still in the United States.  In the past, immigrant visa applicants unlawfully present in the U.S. had to leave the country and apply for their waiver from abroad not knowing whether the waiver would be granted.  They would inevitably spend many months, sometimes over a year, waiting for a decision while separated from their family members.  Now the waiver can be filed and adjudicated before departing the country. If the waiver is granted, the individual will pick up their immigrant visa at a Consular Post abroad and then return to the U.S. as a permanent resident. USCIS will begin accepting provisional unlawful presence waiver applications starting March 4, 2013 for individuals meeting the following criteria:

  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 petition that was filed by your U.S. spouse, parent, son or daughter (over 21 years old);
  4. You have a pending immigrant visa case with the U.S. State Department’s National Visa Center and an immigrant visa interview has not been scheduled;
  5. You have been in the United States without legal status for 180 days or more; and
  6. You have no other conditions that will make you inadmissible or ineligible for an immigrant visa, such as criminal convictions and/or immigration fraud or misrepresentation.

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