On January 2nd, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens present in the United States, who are in the process of seeking immigrant visas with the Department of State to become lawful U.S. permanent residents, may apply and be approved for provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews. USCIS will begin accepting provisional unlawful presence waivers on March 4th, 2013.
Please bear in mind that the new regulation does not change the law. Any foreign national that stays in the U.S. unlawfully for 180 days or more–after entering illegally, overstaying a period stay authorized by the government, or having been found out of status by a government official or immigration judge–is barred from readmission to the U.S. for up to 10 years. Nor does the filing or approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver confer any legal status, protect against the accrual of additional periods of unlawful presence, authorize a foreign national to enter the United States without securing a visa or other appropriate entry document, convey any interim benefits (e.g., employment authorization, parole, or advance parole), or protect a foreign national from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States in accordance with current DHS policies governing initiation of removal proceedings and the use of prosecutorial discretion.
Those applicants with pending cases before a U.S. Embassy abroad with an interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center dated before January 3rd, 2013 are not eligible to apply for the a waiver unbder this new process. Applicants scheduled for interviews by the National Visa Center on or after January 3rd, 2013 are eligible to apply for the I-601A. “Scheduled” means the date on which NVC took the action to schedule the case –
Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information regarding this process.