The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a new process that will allow certain spouses, children, and
parents of a U.S. citizen (immediate relatives) to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they are still in the United States and before departing for their immigrant visa interviews abroad.
Why did DHS create the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?
Currently certain immediate relatives must travel abroad to obtain an immigrant visa from the Department of State (DOS) before
they can return to the United States and be admitted as lawful permanent residents. In many cases, these immediate relatives also
must request a waiver of inadmissibility of their unlawful presence in the United States. As a result, these immediate relatives must remain outside of the United States, separated from their U.S. citizen spouses, parents, or children, while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates their waiver applications. In some cases, waiver application processing can be lengthy, prolonging the separation of these immediate relatives from their U.S. citizen spouses, parents, and children.
USCIS anticipates that this new provisional unlawful presence waiver process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens
are separated from their immediate relatives. USCIS approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to departure also will allow the DOS consular officer to issue an immigrant visa without delay, as long as there are no other grounds of inadmissibility and the immediate relative is otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa. Individuals who may be inadmissible on any other grounds of
inadmissibility are not eligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver process.