Unregistered spouses to benefit from immigration shake-up

Millions of couples in the United States are hoping that the new immigration rules that were finalized last month will legalize their undocumented married partners and children without them having to be separated for a number of years.

From March 4th this year the path for the undocumented offspring and spouses of American citizens is to be improved with the arrival of a temporary permission to remain in the United States before they return to their home country for the purposes of an immigration interview.  Under previous legislation undocumented children and spouses had to go back to their home country immediately and then wait for formalities to be completed – a process that could often take several years.

However, under the new rules people can put in an application for what is referred to as a “provisional lawful presence waiver” that will allow them to stay in the family unit and avoid being deported for illegal entry.  The Department for Homeland Security says that the former rules resulted in cases often not being handled for over two years and in that time children and spouses were forced to remain apart from their loved ones.

Now the home country’s interview for US visas will result in the granting of permanent residency permits so long as all the criteria has been met.  On the downside, those who have already scheduled an interview are going to be forced to leave the United States and use the previous process.