The Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule change Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives in the Federal Register today.
This proposal would change DHS procedures to enable spouses and children of U.S. citizens physically present in the United States to apply within the U.S. for the waiver they need to become U.S. permanent residents. The current procedure requires the spouse or child to leave the United States, file the waiver application in the home country, and wait for processing while separated from their U.S. citizen loved ones.
The proposal would permit immediate family of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional waiver of unlawful presence while remaining in the U.S., thereby minimizing the time they would be separated from their families during the process. To obtain the waiver, applicants would still need to meet the strict letter of the law which requires them to prove that family separation will cause their American citizen spouse or parent extreme hardship.
If the waiver is granted, the foreign national must leave the U.S. and apply for and receive an immigrant visa abroad before returning to the U.S. The change will give countless American families a chance to stay together safely and legally.
The provisional waiver process is NOT in effect. USCIS will reject any application requesting a provisional waiver at this time and return the application and any fees filed. The provisional waiver process will only take effect after a final rule is published in the Federal Register with an effective date.