What is Provisional Residency?

An immigration reform bill was recently introduced by the Gang of Eight, that comprises of four Democratic and four Republican Senators. This bill would create a new provisional status called the Registered Provisional Immigrant Status and the undocumented immigrants living in the country could apply for this status after the President signs this bill into law. Undocumented immigrants who were present in the country before 31st December, 2011, can apply for this status. Undocumented immigrants applying for this status must have maintained continuous physical presence and they must not leave the country until they become Registered Provisional Immigrants. These applicants must also pay their back taxes and fines.

Eligible applicants would be granted Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status and issued identification cards. This status would be good for 6 years and prior to the expiration of this status, immigrants in RPI status must apply for renewal. This status would permit them to stay in the country and work there legally. Nevertheless, this is only a temporary status and the immigrants in this status would be subject to deportation if they fail to abide by the country’s immigration laws. Immigrants in this status could travel abroad and the spouses and children of the immigrants applying for RPI status would become eligible for derivative status. Immigrants in this provisional status could apply for permanent resident status after ten years and obtain Green Cards. A fine of $500 must be paid by the immigrants at the time of applying for RPI status and they need to pay another $500 penalty while filing applications for renewal. Likewise, they need to pay a $1000 penalty while applying for Green Cards.

DREAMers and deported undocumented immigrants who were living in the country prior to 31st December, 2011, could apply for this status and return to America. However, undocumented immigrants who were deported could apply for this status and re-enter America only if they have family ties in the country and this may not apply to the DREAMers as the DREAMers who were deported could apply for this status even if they do not have family ties. These DREAMers need to wait only for five years to obtain Green Cards whereas the other undocumented immigrants must wait for ten long years to become lawful residents. Likewise, DREAMers could apply for US citizenship immediately after obtaining Green Cards and the wait time for DREAMers to obtain US citizenship is only 5 years. But this would not apply to the other undocumented immigrants and the wait for them is 13 years. Hence, provisional residency is something that the immigration reform bill would grant the eligible unauthorized residents and this status would permit them live in the country as temporary residents.