Immigration Law Update - Expansion of Family Immigration Provisional Waiver Process
The provisional waiver program announced in 2013 for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens will be expanded to include the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents and the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
In January of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established a process that allows certain spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply to USCIS for a waiver of the 3- and IO-year bars before departing the U.S. for consular interviews. This "provisional" waiver provides eligible individuals with some level of certainty that they will be able to return after a successful consular interview and reduces overseas waits during the family immigration process. This provisional waiver process will soon be expanded to include the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, as well as the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
At the same time, USCIS will clarify the “extreme hardship” standard that must be met to obtain the waiver. This will hopefully improve consistency and clarity in the provisional waiver process.
If you or a family member has been waiting to proceed with the family-based immigration process due to uncertainties in consular processing and waivers, we encourage you to discuss the expanded provisional waiver process with an immigration attorney. Please note that the expanded provisional waiver process is not yet implemented as of the date of this article.