USCIS Proposes Change to Help Families Stay TogetherMay 17, 2012
Back in January, U.S. officials announced a proposed change in immigration law that could spare American citizens from being separated from undocumented immigrant spouses and children.
Currently, American citizens can apply for green cards for immigrant spouses and children – even those who have entered the country illegally. However, as part of the process, most applicants are required to return to their home countries in order to receive their visas. Once immigrants leave the United States, they are barred from returning to the United States for a minimum of three years, and even some cases a full decade.
Under existing immigration law, USCIS can issue a waiver so that individuals are not subject to these bars if it would cause “extreme hardship” to the U.S. citizen involved. Actually getting this waiver, though, is a long and difficult process. In addition, the applicant needs to wait outside of the U.S. while it the waiver application is processed—a rule which causes many families to be separated for long periods of time.
The proposed Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers would allow immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to reenter the U.S. even if they would be accruing unlawful status. The individual would apply for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver before leaving the U.S., thus streamlining the waiver application process and ensuring that families are not separated during the application process.
As of today, the proposed process is not yet in effect. USCIS has summarized the proposal at www.uscis.gov/provisionalwaiver. Further, a comprehensive FAQs sheet is available for individuals who would like more information.
As always, please contact VISANOW at 1-855-VISANOW (847-2669) for questions or further information. We are here to help!
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