USCIS Proposes a Dramatic Change for Waivers

USCIS-Proposed-Change-Unlawful-Pesence- WaiversUSCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas recently proposed a regulatory change in the processing of Waivers of Inadmissibility, which could potentially affect thousands of immigrants and their families. The purpose of the regulation is to reduce the time that US citizens are separated from their spouses and children in certain cases. Under the current regulations, a person who has entered the United States illegally, and was not paroled into the US, or eligible for amnesty under previous law, may have to return to their home country and wait for a visa to be issued. The problem is that if the person has accumulated unlawful presence, the person may be subject to a bar of 3 or 10 years before being able to return to the US.

Under the proposed change, the waiver could be filed in the US and a decision would be made without requiring the person to leave prior to  a decision on the waiver. The same hardship requirements must be demonstrated, and the waiver would only be for unlawful presence – not for criminal activities. If the waiver is granted, the person would then be required to leave the US and have an interview in their home country. After the interview, the person could reenter the US.

It is anticipated, according to Director Mayorkas’s Press Conference of January 6, 2012, that the change could take place before the end of this year.

Due to the complexity of the waiver process, it is recommended that a waiver applicant seek legal counsel for assistance.

For more on this subject, see our post on

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