Those who are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, such as the parent, child, or spouse, can apply for an I-601A – Unlawful Presence Waiver, provided certain criteria are met. One of these criteria is that the U.S. citizen must be living in the United States at the time of the application’s filing. Additionally, the applicant must meet all of the I-601A eligibility requirements in order to merit a “favorable exercise of discretion” by the USCIS. While these requirements are generally well clarified, there have been some questions regarding whether or not the applicant will be disqualified as a result of having a criminal record.
In addressing the question of what kinds of criminal offenses will disqualify an applicant from being granted a an I-601A, the USCIS has indicted that crimes which are considered petty offenses or which qualify for the youth offender exception will not disqualify the applicant from being granted the waiver. However, any past criminal activity must not be considered a crime involving moral turpitude.
As a result of this finding, the USCIS plans to reopen all I-601A unlawful presence waivers which were denied before January 24, 2014,if the denial was solely due to the applicant’s criminal history. The USCIS will re-adjudicate such cases based on the finding referenced above. According to a USCIS statement on the matter, those affected will be notified within 60 days. However, it should be noted that the re-adjudication is essentially a review in light of new guidance, not a guarantee that they application will be approved.
As can be seen by the above situation, immigrating to the United States can be lengthy and difficult. Those who wish to have the best opportunity for success are advised to use the services of a qualified immigration attorney to assist them along the way. We, at the Lyttle Law Firm, do all we can to help our clients, immigrants in Austin, Texas, to navigate this country’s immigration system. If you have an immigration question, call us at 512-215-5225 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We are here to help you.