On the 2nd January this year Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, announced the Federal Register’s final rule to cut down on the amount of time that US citizens would be forced to spend separated from members of their family who are engaged in the task of attempting to gain permanent legal status. That process means that certain individuals will be able to put in an application for a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to their departing from the United States and will have to notify the National Visa Center of the Department of State.
Under current laws, immediate family of US citizens are ineligible to adjust their status to try to become permanent legal citizens and have to leave the United States and get an immigrant visa overseas first. If someone has been in the United States for over a total of six months, they must then obtain a waiver in order to get around the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar prior to them being able to come back to the US once they have gotten an immigration visa overseas.
This new law will see a brand new Form I-601A created, an Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, which green card applicants can make use of in order to avoid being penalized for their unlawful presence. Under existing laws the form would have to be filed when the individual has undergone an immigrant visa interview back in their own country, which prolongs the length of their separation from their family. Now the form can be applied for before they leave the US.