Parents, children or spouses of United States citizens are eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, also known as a stateside waiver. This waiver expedites the immigrant visa process for family members of citizens. Before March 4, 2013, when the waiver went into effect, the immediate families of U.S. citizens were ineligible to change their immigration status in the U.S. They had to obtain their immigrant visas abroad at a U.S. consulate or embassy. This procedure remains the same under the new law. Family members still need to attend an immigrant visa hearing abroad but not until after they have applied for a stateside waiver. Under the new law, a person with an approved stateside waiver can attend a green card interview abroad and return to their families quickly, often within a few days, rather than waiting months or years for a pending waiver.
An immigration attorney in the Dallas TX area can guide you in the stateside waiver process. If your spouse resides in the U.S., the stateside waiver law will help you reunite sooner. You must first determine if you’re eligible for the waiver. The eligibility requirements state that you must be at least 17 years old and an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen (i.e. spouse), and prove that refusal of admission into the U.S. will cause your loved one extreme hardship. You’ll also need an approved Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant) or Form I- 130 (Petition for Alien Relief). You’ll need to file a provisional unlawful presence waiver application while in the United States.
You may be denied a stateside waiver if your application has missing information or if the USCIS officer overseeing your case believes that your absence won’t pose an extreme hardship to your family member in the U.S. At the present time, it’s not possible to appeal the denial of stateside waiver, so a correct and complete application is crucial if you want to join your immediate family member in the U.S. Contacting an immigration attorney in the Dallas TX area to help you fill out the form I-601A increases your chances of having the application approved. The current fee to file the form with the government is $585.00 and it can’t be waived, regardless of financial need. There’s an additional $85 fee for fingerprinting and biometrics services. This fee can be waived for applicants over 79 years old.
Obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence helps you or your loved ones jump-start the process to permanent U.S. residency. Nathan Christensen of the Christensen Law Firm, an immigration attorney in the Dallas TX area, is experienced in handling stateside waivers and other aspects of immigration law. If you have questions about qualifying for a waiver or filling out Form I-601A, give our office a call at (972) 497-1017. We belong to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and offer consultations and written material in Spanish.