Certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) will soon be eligible “to more easily navigate the immigration process.” This is because, as officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced, they have recently adopted a new final rule that will allow these family members to pursue “provisional waivers of the unlawful presences ground of inadmissibility” in order to “support family unity” by cutting down the time it takes for these individuals to complete this immigration process abroad.
To reveal more about the changes that this new final rule will soon engender, below, we have answered some commonly asked questions about it. Don’t hesitate, however, to call our San Francisco immigration lawyer when you need answers – about any immigration matter – that are specific to you and your circumstances.
Answers about the New Final Rule Expanding the Provisional Waiver Process
Q – What exactly does this new final rule do? And why was it issued?
A – The new final rule will open up the current provisional waiver process to individuals “who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas.” Via this expanded process, specific relatives of U.S. citizens and LPRs (who are not in the U.S. legally) could be exempt from having to return to their home country as they seek a U.S. visa – so long as they can prove that their absence from the U.S. would create an “extreme hardship” on their family.
Prior to this (and the limited initial rollout of this rule in 2013), these family members would be required to leave the U.S. as they sought a visa. For those who were unlawfully here, however, the departure from the U.S. could trigger inadmissibility for a U.S. visa (for up to 10 years if the members were illegally in the U.S. for more than 1 year).
With the new final rule, however, USCIS is focused on:
- Not separating families or creating undue hardship for them (so long as they qualify for the waiver)
- Enacting more of the sub-provisions in the original statute (by expanding the types of family members who may qualify for this waiver program).
Q – How and when can I apply for the provisions unlawful presence waiver?
A – To apply for this new waiver, petitioners will have to:
- Complete Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, and submit it (along with the required filing fees) to USCIS
- Wait until August 29th – when the new final rule officially takes effect – to submit these status change requests to USCIS.
Please note that attempting to apply for this waiver program before August 29th can result in a denial of the petition.
Q – Is the complete text off the new final rule currently available to the public?
A – Yes, the complete text of new final rule has been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed here.
Get More Answers Now: Contact a San Francisco Immigration Lawyer at the Law Office of Peter Duong
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