Today I participated in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public engagement on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers. The engagement featured government officials from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of State.
On March 4, 2013 USCIS began accepting applications for waiver of unlawful presence for certain family-based green card cases. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens in the process of applying for an immigrant visa can now receive a decision on their waiver application before departing the United States for their consular interview, thereby reducing the waiting time for issuance of the visa. The sole ground of inadmissibility to be waived must be unlawful presence, and applicants must demonstrate that the denial of their application to be admitted to the U.S. would cause extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
The topics covered during today's public engagement included how to avoid common filing mistakes leading to rejection of the provisional waiver Form I-601A, issues with payment of immigrant visa processing fees and filing forms with National Visa Center (NVC), and procedures that should be followed for persons in removal proceedings.
Anyone considering applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver should consult with an attorney to determine their eligibility and to assist them in the process of applying. Because of the complexity of the provisional waiver process and the difficulty of meeting the extreme hardship standard, applicants should have a knowledgeable and experienced immigration assist them throughout the process. Notarios and immigration consultants should be avoided because they cannot give legal advice.
Timothy D. Widman is a San Jose Immigration Attorney and the owner of the Law Office of Timothy D. Widman in San Jose, California.