As reported by the Asian Journal, the Obama administration announced a groundbreaking proposal in the Federal Register to allow immigrants to apply for an unlawful presence provisional waiver in the US before going abroad to apply for an immigrant visa.
The rule’s focus is on family unification of US citizens and their immediate family members. The Administration recognized that current immigration policies and procedures unnecessarily disrupt these families’ lives.
Under current immigration law, an immigrant who has accrued unlawful status in the United States is generally ineligible to obtain a green card domestically. To obtain lawful status, the immigrant must depart the United States and apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate in his home country. If this immigrant’s unlawful presence in the United States has been greater than 180 days, his departure triggers a three-year-bar from returning to the United States. If the unlawful presence is greater than one year prior to the departure, the immigrant triggers a 10-year-bar from returning to the United States.
Under the proposal, the undocumented spouses and children of US citizens will be able to apply for a provisional waiver while in the United States. They must still demonstrate extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, but, would not have to wait separated from loved ones for extended periods of time outside of the United States. There would be little or no disruption to their lives.
Eligibility will be limited only to the spouses, children, or parents of US citizens who are immigrating as an immediate relative. The provisional waiver will also be limited to those only requiring a waiver for the 3 or 10 year bar. Once a provisional waiver is granted, the immigrant is then free to travel to the home country to apply before the US Consulate for immigrant visa and return to the US. Attorney Robert Reeves of Reeves & Associates explains that this process can usually be completed within a matter of weeks resulting in a prompt return to the US.
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