On January 2, 2013, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a new provisional waiver process in consular processing immigration cases. The goal of this procedural change will be to minimize the amount of time families are separated during the application process.
This will apply to immediate relatives of US Citizens and Residents who are in the process of obtaining their residency or wish to begin the consular process. This only pertains to undocumented individuals who have accrued a period of unlawful presence in the USA and will receive a Bar to Admissibility because of it. If you are a US Citizen or Resident and have a spouse, parent or child who is without status, this may apply to your family.
Previously, when an undocumented individual was going through the visa and residency application process, he/she would need to return to his/her home country for an interview. Once the interview was over, their hardship waiver application would be filed and the individual would need to wait in their home country for a decision and visa. Sometimes this could take up to a year or more. The new provisional waiver system will allow the undocumented individual to apply for the hardship waiver before leaving the USA for their home country. The individual will still need to attend their visa interview in their home country; however, the visit will only be to attend their interview and will be for a much shorter period of time (i.e. a matter of weeks).
It is very important that you speak to an experienced immigration attorney. If you have a criminal record that rises to the level of giving you a bar to admissibility, then this provisional waiver program will not apply to you.
Hardship Waivers can be very difficult to obtain. There is a substantial amount of information that must be given to the government in support of the Waiver. It is highly recommended that you retain legal counsel to assist you with this process. An experienced attorney will be able to complete your applications, gather supporting documentation, insure that all information being submitted to the government is correct and answer any questions that may come up along the way. Please contact Kaehne, Cottle, Pasquale & Associates, S.C. to schedule your no-cost consultation and evaluation of your case. Our attorneys have practiced extensively in the area of consular processing and hardship waivers over the years and are well versed in the new legal directives.