Recently changes were made to the 2013 Provisional Waiver (I601-A) program that permits certain individuals who are present in the United States to apply for waivers showing extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen spouse before they travel abroad. This law was designed to prevent long wait times for relatives to spend abroad waiting for approvals of their waivers. This waiver gives conditional approval to applicants before they make the decision to travel abroad to complete their process to become a Lawful permanent resident. Since implementation in 2013, the process has been inconsistently applied to applicants thereby causing confusion, inefficiency and unpredictable denials. The changes to the existing provisional waiver program will offer more possibilities to immigrants as follows:
- New program allows undocumented individuals who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days and who are either
- — the spouse, sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- — the spouse and sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents.
- New program clarifies the meaning of “extreme hardship” standard required to qualify for the waiver
There is no date set for the new guidelines and regulations to be issued, though it is anticipated this will occur in the early part of 2015. These cases are complex and an experienced attorney is recommended to represent qualified individuals.
Processing timelines may increase, as the new provisions will provide more opportunities for more people to apply for waivers. Therefore those who qualify should apply early as there may be increased backlogs due to the increased amount of qualified individuals.