Foreign nationals who have been in the United States unlawfully for more than 6 months are prohibited, upon leaving the United States, from returning to the U.S. for a period of up to 3 years. Individuals who have been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than 12 months are prohibited from returning for up to 10 years. These prohibitions are commonly known as the "3 year bar" and "10 year bar". These bars may be waived, in whole or in part, upon a proper showing of hardship. Prior to March 2013, this waiver could be sought only at the U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. Many individuals living within the U.S., who were otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa, faced a difficult decision - either take the risk of the waiver being denied by leaving the U.S. to apply for the waiver, or stay illegally in the U.S. to avoid the risk. In March 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services implemented a new program known as the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. Today's blog will begin to address the provisional waiver.
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THE PROVISIONAL HARDSHIP WAIVER?
The primary benefit of applying for the provisional waiver with U.S.C.I.S. in the United States is that the person knows whether he or she will be required to stay outside the U.S. before being able to return to the U.S. following the visa interview at the U.S. consulate abroad. Knowing this in advance helps the individual know whether to even pursue an immigrant visa. Families of individuals who have lived in the U.S. and have significant ties to the U.S. often would face devastating personal and financial consequences if forced to be separated or live outside the U.S. for such a lengthy period of time. Frequently, if the provisional waiver is denied, the family chooses to not pursue the immigrant visa and remain in the U.S. illegally, waiting for some other immigration option to become available.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PROVISIONAL HARDSHIP WAIVER?
The provisional hardship waiver is requested by timely and properly completing Form I-601A.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A PROVISIONAL HARDSHIP WAIVER?
You are eligible for a provisional hardship waiver if the following requirements are met:
a. Your U.S. citizen spouse and/or U.S. citizen parent would suffer extreme hardship if you are refused admission to the U.S.;
b. You do not have a prior order of deportation, exclusion or removal;
c. you are not otherwise inadmissible to the U.S.
If you are contemplating the need for a hardship waiver, you don't have to go through the journey alone. Individuals need expert assistance in determining eligibility and properly applying for the hardship waiver. Christiansen Law Firm partners with individuals in need of a hardship waiver to secure favorable outcomes. The immigration law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience in immigration law, and can assist you with your application for a provisional hardship waiver. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio to obtain additional information.