If you (or a loved one) are the relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and your immigration status here in the United States is unlawful, you may be entitled to a waiver so you can live without fear and immigrate to the U.S. legally. The goal is to keep families together.
- Under current law and procedures, families are often separated for years; such separation is against public policy. After all, family members provide each other with financial and emotional support. If family members do that, the Government doesn’t have to.
- The new law would seemingly reduce family separation time.
The Federal Register Explains
As explained in the Federal Register (the daily journal of the U.S. Government), “USCIS now proposes to amend its regulations to allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States to request provisional unlawful presence waivers under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (INA or Act), prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.”
Departure Still Required Under Proposed Law
This proposed waiver program offers relief, but is still a scary process. To qualify for the waiver, foreign nationals would have to waive a red flag, saying, “Here I am; and, I’m here illegally.”
The USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DOS) explain that the waiver is effective immediately upon departure.
- You must leave the U.S.; then,
- You must apply for a family member immigration visa through a U.S. consular office (in another country; presumably your own.)
- If you would be qualified for the visa but for your former illegal presence, the visa will be granted.
WAIT to Apply for Two Reasons
- First, to protect your best interests, always consult with a qualified immigration attorney before taking on any immigration matters or dealing with the U.S. Government. All matters discussed with your immigration lawyer are confidential.
- Second, this law is not yet effective. Comments on the proposed law are being accepted until June 1, 2012. It will not be in effect until some later date. Make sure the law is actually in effect before you apply; there is no sense tipping your hat unless the law can help you.
How to Consult with an Immigration Attorney to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
It’s always in your best interest to get good legal advice about immigration matters. We have immigration attorneys who can explain the current laws, the proposed waiver program, and your individual immigration matters. You can reach us at 513-793-6555, the web form below or Thomasjr@geygan.com. Contact us now.