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Leading Immigration Attorney Supports USCIS’ Decision to Expand Provisional Waiver Process

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) final rule will provide stability to immigrant families by reducing the time U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are separated from their loved ones who are in the process of obtaining visas.

On July 29, 2016, USCIS announced that its final rule will expand the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible under the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility. The final rule stems from a process that was announced by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in 2013 to support family unity. Under this process, certain immediate relatives may apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver of inadmissibility based on the extreme hardship their U.S. citizen spouses or parents would undergo if the waiver were not granted.

Prior to the final rule, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were eligible to apply for provisional waivers before leaving the U.S. for immigrant interviews in their countries of origin. However, under the new regulations, applicants can qualify for a provisional waiver if it is established that their separation from their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent(s) would cause them to experience “extreme hardship.”

The final rule will go into effect on August 29, 2016, at which time an updated Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver will be available.

“The final law recognizes the hardship that both U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents experience when separated from a loved one and alleviates the burden to avoid that occurrence,” Mr. Bretz says. “This regulation will provide immigrant families more stability by reducing the amount of time individuals are separated from their loved ones upon whom they rely the most.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555.

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