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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
February 2013
Immigration News Briefs

New Provisional Waiver Rule Finally Launched by USCIS

Beginning March 4, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start to accept the new provisional unlawful presence waiver of immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (USC) stateside.

Under the new rule immediate relatives (spouse, children under 21, and parents only) of U.S. citizens who have been unlawfully present in the country may file this provisional waiver before departing the country and returning to their home country to attend their Immigrant Visa interview.

This new rule is aimed at further establishing family unity. Previously, those who were unlawfully present in the U.S. were required to leave the country and file the waiver application while in their home country. This often resulted in a separation from their American citizen-relative that could last many years. This new rule will significantly reduce the amount of time of that separation.

Under the current rule (which will still be available to those who do not qualify for the new process), applicants who are not eligible for Adjustment of Status because they have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence, must leave the U.S. to obtain their Immigrant Visa abroad. They must also obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before returning to the U.S. This waiver was filed after departing the U.S.

However, starting on March 4, 2013, those applicants needing a waiver can complete that process stateside and receive a provisional decision before returning abroad. Requirements to be eligible to apply for the new provisional stateside unlawful presence waiver include:
• be an immediate relative of a USC;
• be inadmissible ONLY because of unlawful presence;
and
• demonstrate extreme hardship to the USC (not to the applicant). Extreme hardship factors may include medical, economic, and current foreign country conditions.

If the applicant meets those requirements, they should file the new Form I-601A with USCIS before departing the U.S. The applicant will still have to leave the U.S. to attend their Immigrant Visa interview, but the time outside the U.S. will be significantly reduced.

U.S. Embassy in New Delhi Announces Interview Waiver for Certain Applicants

The U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, recently announced the expansion of the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) for certain visa applicants in India. The expanded program now includes H-1B and L-1 visa applicants as well as certain students, provided that they meet specific requirements.

The U.S. Department of State initiated the visa IWP in early 2012. The intention of the pilot program was to facilitate travel to the United States for business and tourism.

The IWP continues to be limited to individuals seeking to renew visas in the same categories as their previously issued visas. Applicants must be renewing visas that are still valid or that expired within the last 12 months. An applicant in possession of a visa with the notation "Clearance Received" is not eligible for the IWP.

 

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR February 2013

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

15Jan06

15Jan06

2A

22Oct10

22Oct10

2B

15Jan05

15Jan05

3rd

08Jul02

08Jul02

4th

15Apr01

15Apr01

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Sep04

Current

3rd

15Nov02

15Mar07

Other

15Nov02

15Mar07

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B



 

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