Announcement February 14th, 2013
For Individuals Seeking Permanent Residency Through Their American Citizen Immediate Family
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new rule that will allow certain individuals who have relatives that are U.S. citizens, but have to leave the U.S. as part of process to be eligible for legal permanent residency, completing a fundamental part of the application process before leaving the U.S. The new process reduces the risk that such people are denied re-entry to the U.S. and reduces the time spend abroad separated from their families. DHS issued the new rule on January 3rd 2013. The process will take effect on March 15, 2013.
What is a “Provisional Waiver”
Provisional Waivers are the product of the DHS ruling as of January 3rd 2013. It is the new process that reduces the risk of denied re-entry to the U.S. if their waiver is not approved and reduces the time spend abroad separated from their families.
Who can apply?
A person is not eligible for the exemption if he or she:

  • He / she was convicted of a crime, or engaged in conduct that is illegal the U.S.;
  • He / she has less than 17 years of age at the time of application;
  • It is in removal proceedings (unless the process is administratively closed) or has a pending deportation order, or
  • He / she was scheduled for a consular interview before January 3, 2013 concerning kin’s request which is the basis of the application of the provisional waiver.
What happens if waiver is denied?
People whose provisional waiver is denied do not need to leave the U.S. to complete consular processing. DHS has said that it will not start deportation proceedings for people whose applications are rejected, unless they have a criminal history, committed fraud, or pose a threat to public safety.
Do you need an attorney to apply?
Yes, it is highly advised. To apply for permanent residency through this new process will require the applicant to present forms and documentation in three different stages:

  1. File for a family petion (this may take more or less 6 months to approve)
  2. Apply for Provisional Waiver
  3. Consular process, which includes an interview and medical exam.

While each case is different, the Provisional Waiver will be the hardest part of the process for most applicants. It will require to show that the US citizen family member will suffer “extreme hardship”, which is the most difficult task and it involves a thorough review of the status and financial history, medical and mental health of the US citizen family member. An expericed immigration attorney should guide the applicant in this process.

Our recommendation
We recommend that you call us and make an appointment with one of our immigration specialist attorneys to thoroughly review your case. We then recommend that if you are found eligible for this new process, you apply for the first stage of this process, the family petition. Since the family petition may take upwards of six (6) months to approve, and with an influx of Provisional Waiver applications expected, we recommend you begin with the first stage.
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Call: (213) 386-4649 or (818) 506-8038