New Waiver Procedures for Certain Undocumented Immigrants Announced

On January 6, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to change its current process for certain applications for waivers of inadmissibility filed in connection with an immediate relative immigrant visa application. Specifically, USCIS proposed policy changes which will allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (ie: individuals unlawfully present in the United States who entered the U.S. without inspection) to request provisional waivers under section 212(a)(9)(B)(v) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, prior to departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.

Under current procedures, an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen with an approved Petition for Alien Relative (I-130), must depart the United States and file their permanent resident application and waiver of inadmissibility application at the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. This process causes the foreign national to remain outside the United States while the waiver application is being processed, which frequently takes more than a year. U.S. citizens are often separated from their family members during this long wait.

The proposed new process is intended to reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from immediate relatives during the lengthy process of obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility. Under the new procedures, an immediate relative with an approved I-130 will be able to remain in the United States while the waiver of inadmissibility is processing. The spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa to immigrate legally to the United States, but who need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in order to obtain that visa expeditiously, would apply for a provisional waiver before leaving the United States to have their immigrant visa application processed at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

The attorneys and staff at Goldstein & Associates have successfully obtained numerous waivers of inadmissibility for our clients. This new policy will not change the way we prepare the substance of a waiver application; it will still be based on proving that the U.S. citizen qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship if the waiver application is not approved. The change, and the main benefit of this new process for adjudicating waivers, will be that our clients will not be separated for lengthy periods of time during this difficult process. Goldstein & Associates applauds USCIS for proposing this change, and eagerly awaits its implementation.

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