IMPORTANT NOTICE: On January 2nd, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that immediate relatives of U.S. citizens present in the United States, who are in the process of seeking immigrant visas with the Department of State to become lawful U.S. permanent residents, may apply for I-601A provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews. USCIS will begin accepting provisional unlawful presence waivers on March 4th, 2013.
Ø Will become effective March 4, 2013
Ø Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens only (spouse/parent/child U21), not for LPR etc.
Ø If you entered U.S. illegally and have overstayed can file waiver inside the States (without triggering the 3/10 yr bar)
Ø Can file the waiver inside the States without having to leave and wait for a “provisional approval” at consulate before departing. Once they get this approval then they depart and process at consulate
Ø Must show extreme hardship to QR – standard is totality of circumstances, not single list of factors
Ø What is the new rule and how can it help my family?
Ø Under current law, many immigrants who enter the country illegally or overstay their visas cannot apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) in the U.S., and instead must finish the immigration process abroad. Unfortunately, just leaving the country—even to pick up a visa sponsored by a family member—automatically makes the intending immigrant subject to a penalty for their “unlawful presence,” potentially separating them from their family for up to ten years.
Ø For some, but not all, the penalty can be waived. Before this new rule, immigrants could be stranded outside the country for weeks, months or even years while waiting for a decision on whether they could return to their life in the United States. And all that time, the immigrant was stuck abroad, usually with no legal way to return. Many families endured the emotional strain, financial hardship and dangerous conditions. Others simply were unwilling to take the risk.
Ø The new rule means that many immigrants will leave the United States, knowing in advance that their case will probably be approved, and they could be back with their families—as a legal resident—in a matter of days.
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