Gene Meltser’s Immigration Blog

Keeping You Updated on US Immigration Law


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a change that will affect some spouses, sons, and daughters of U.S. citizens who apply for an immigrant visa and a waiver of “unlawful presence.” It would make consular processing for qualifying immigrants more transparent and predictable and shorten the time that the family is separated. Unlawful presence in the United States is a ground of inadmissibility for people applying for permanent residency. Depending on the period of unlawful presence, a person may be barred from seeking admission to the United States for 3 or 10 years. However, there is a waiver to overcome the bar. Under the current process, the waiver is not adjudicated until after the person has left the United States for consular processing and triggered the bar. Under the proposed change, an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen could apply for a “provisional waiver” that is adjudicated before he or she leaves the country. The immigrant must show that his or her citizen spouse or parent would suffer “extreme hardship” if the waiver is denied. The provisional waiver is not available to immigrants with additional grounds of inadmissibility. The changes will not go into effect until after the notice and comment period and publication of final rules.


January 16, 2012 - Posted by | Immigration Law

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