Despite the government shutdown, USCIS carries on processing applications and petitions at its glacial pace as usual, including the large number of provisional unlawful presence waiver applications (I-601As) that have been filed since they were first accepted in March 2013, and a corresponding high number of I-130 Immediate Relative Petitions pending approval. We have written on the unlawful presence waiver topic many times, but have been thirsty for statistics and helpful information on the process.
In June 2013, Immigration Briefings, a West publication serving lawyers, published Dree Collopy’s article entitled “I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence: A Practitioner’s Guide for Preserving Family Unity.” (June2013_IB) Intended to help attorneys navigate the new legal landscape of the I-601A provisional waiver, Dree’s article demonstrates Dree’s expertise in hardship waivers and skill in getting the most for her clients. (PS- That’s Dree in the middle, getting an award!)
It has been four months since the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) began stateside adjudication of I-601A Applications for Provisional Waivers of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence. In those four months, we have learned a few things about how U.S. CIS is implementing this new program. Initially, the U.S. CIS has received over 7,000 I-601A provisional waiver applications. Many have been already been decided and CIS states that it has a six month processing goal.
Sixty agonizingly long days after final regulations were published, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this morning released Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, and its accompanying instructions. In previous posts, we discussed many aspects of the stateside waiver process (see here, here, and here). In this post, we’ll discuss some basic filing-related details. How much will it cost? The filing fee for Form I-601A is $585 plus $85 for biometrics for applicants under age 79.
We are now days away from the launch of the provisional waiver process, a White House initiative that will permit immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to stay in the country while immigration officials process their waivers for the unlawful presence bars. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting applications on March 4, and will release Form I-601A and its accompanying instructions either today or on Monday.
The optimism and hope that have been generated by all of the hype around immigration reform has been intense. Every day, a new prominent political figure comes out in favor of immigration reform. Look, Sean Hannity! Condoleeza Rice! Was that closet really big enough for Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes? Eric Cantor and John Boehner now support the DREAM Act after voting against it in 2010!
With all the excitement and buzz about the new I-601A Provisional Waiver process, described in Benach Collopy’s live video chat and our previous posts, it is important to remember that what has changed for certain non-citizens and their family members is the procedure for applying for a waiver of inadmissibility, not the substance of the legal standard. I-601A Provisional Waivers of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the United States will soon be available to assure family unity for certain eligible applicants who seek permanent resident status.
Today, the USCIS finally published the much-awaited rule on the unlawful presence waiver (I-601A), which will take effect on March 4, 2013. We previewed this development in this blog in October 2012. This is an enormous development. The so-called stateside waiver process will allow thousands of immigrants to take the steps to regularize their immigration status. The new waiver provisions do nothing to change the substantive requirement that an immigrant demonstrate that the denial of her permanent residence would cause extreme hardship to her U.S.
The CIS has announced that a major change to the way that it processes waivers for unlawful presence will be finalized by the end of the year. This change has the potential to help thousands of immigrants married to Americans but unable to adjust status in the U.S. to regularize their status. It has always been one of the worst parts of being an immigration lawyer. I meet a young couple- an American citizen and her foreign-born husband.