The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently announced its final rule that expands eligibility for provisional waivers of inadmissibility, which affects individuals who have to travel from the U.S. to another country to obtain immigrant visas.
The Provisional Waiver Process
The provisional waiver allows certain individuals who are presently in the U.S. to process a request from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and receive a decision before departing from the country.
If the provisional waiver is granted, an individual can leave the country, attend an immigrant visa interview, and return to the U.S. legally to reunite with their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members without triggering a 3-year or 10-year ban from the U.S.
The Final Rule on Eligibility of Provisional Waivers
Before the final rule, the provisional waiver process was only available to individuals who seek immigrant visas as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, and who can show that denial of admission will result in extreme hardship to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen.
Beginning August 29, 2016, the final rule states that the eligibility for the provisional waiver process will be extended to:
- All individuals who are statutorily eligible for a waiver of unlawful presence.
- Spouses and children who accompany or follow to join the principal immigrant.
The new modifications also include:
- Eliminating the proposed temporal limitations that would have restricted eligibility for provisional waivers based on visa interview scheduling.
- Allowing individuals to apply for provisional waivers even if USCIS has a reason to believe that they may be subject to other grounds of inadmissibility.
- Allowing individuals with final orders of removal, deportation, or exclusion to be eligible for provisional waivers provided that they have already applied for – and USCIS has approved – a Form I-212 (also known as Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal).
Under the new rule, those who are statutorily eligible for a waiver have to go abroad to obtain an immigrant visa, establish that denial of admission will result in extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent, establish that his or her case warrants a favorable exercise of discretion, and meet all other regulatory requirements.
Supporting Family Unity
According to the DHS, the final rule builds on a process established in 2013 to support family unity, allowing immigrants to remain with their families while pending a decision on their waivers.
To understand how this new rule affects you or a family member, talk to Lyttle Law Firm today. Call us at 512-215-5225 to schedule a consultation.