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Expansions to Provisional Waivers of Unlawful Presence

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on January 12, 2015

As we reported, on November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a number of executive orders impacting US immigration policy. Among other actions, including expansions to the DACA and DAPA eligibility criteria, the President also announced an expansion of provisional waivers to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents.

First implemented in 2013, the provisional waiver program initially allowed the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to seek a waiver of inadmissibility for the three and ten year bars due to unlawful presence in the U.S. rather than after proceeding abroad to seek a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

The provisional waiver was initially limited only to spouses and children of U.S. citizens, but under the President’s recent executive actions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was instructed to “expand access to the provisional waiver to all statutorily eligible classes of relative for whom an immigrant visa is immediately available.” This directive clearly expands the applicability of provisional waivers to the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, and not just U.S. citizens, but it could also be interpreted to apply more broadly to include adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens as well.

USCIS was also directed to clarify the factors to be considered in determining whether the provisional waiver’s “extreme hardship” standard has been met and whether there is a legal presumption that extreme hardship exists.

Other notable executive actions include:

  • The implementation of a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy designed to strengthen border security;
  • Revisions to removal and deportation policies in order to prioritize the deportation of national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border;
  • Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program to broaden eligibility to those who were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, who entered the US before June 15, 2007, and who were under 16 years old when they entered;
  • Extension of deferred action to parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents;
  • Revisions to parole rules to identify the conditions under which talented entrepreneurs may be eligible for parole into the US;
  • Enhanced access to citizenship by allowing the use of credit cards as a payment option for naturalization fee; and
  • Implementation of administrative actions to enable US businesses to hire and retain highly-skilled foreign workers.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer

There will likely be further legislative and regulatory action in upcoming months to clarify and implement the President’s executive actions. The immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group will provide updates as additional legislative and regulatory actions are taken.

The Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group stand ready and able to help foreign nationals seek provisional waivers or obtain the necessary immigration documents that they need. We support immigration reform, which is designed to make the immigration system more efficient and effective. If you would like additional information about any of the President’s executive actions on immigration, including the expansion of provisional waivers, contact our office at (847)564-0712 to speak with an immigration attorney.