Are You Ready for H-1B CAP Season?

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

Are You Ready for H-1B CAP Season?

 By Houston Immigration Attorney Michele L Strickland

What is an H-1B visa?

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides the H-1B visa category for temporary specialty workers.  A specialty occupation is one that requires a college degree. Employers may temporarily employ foreign nationals who hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in H-1B classification.

What is the H-1B CAP?

The number of new H-1B visas are limited each year.  H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 each year for foreign nationals who hold a Bachelor’s degree.  An additional 20,000 visas are allocated for individuals who hold an advanced degree (Master’s, Ph.D. or Professional degree) earned in the U.S.  Petitions received during the filing period are randomly selected by lottery for processing.  Last year USCIS received 199,000 petitions during the filing period.

Does the H-1B CAP apply to you?

The CAP only applies to initial H-1B petitions.   Individuals are exempt from the CAP if they have already been counted against the CAP within the past six years.  Once an individual is counted toward the CAP employers may apply for an extension or change of employer without the individual being counted again.

Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for by an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities; a nonprofit research organization; or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.  J-1 physicians who have obtained a waiver through a State 30 program or a federal program are also exempt from the CAP.

How should an employer prepare for an H-1B filing?

Employers should identify potential employees eligible for the H-1B CAP.  They should seek guidance on prevailing wage issues for the position offered and understand their obligations under the Department of Labor laws regarding the terms of the Labor Condition Application (LCA).  Additionally, employers need to anticipate the costs of filing an H-1B petition (attorney’s fees, USCIS filing fees, etc.).  Finally, they should plan for rejection or denial of the application – how would the employer retain the employee not selected in the lottery?

How should employees prepare for an H-1B filing?

Employees should determine if their occupation and credentials qualify for an H-1B visa.  Employees should check with their employer, or potential employer, to see if they will sponsor them for an H-1B visa.  They will need to gather the required documents: passport; diplomas, transcripts and education evaluation (if a foreign degree); resume; documents to show maintenance of status, if in the U.S.; and necessary documents for dependents, if any.

USCIS policy in processing H-1B petitions is changing.  Proposed rules are expected prior to H-1B CAP season.  The FY 2019 H-1B cap-subject quota season will open on April 1, 2018.  You should contact a qualified immigration lawyer no later than mid-February 2018 to determine their employment immigration options.

Five Trends in Immigration Court

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Deportation, Immigration Court, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

By Jose Aponte, Esq.

January 2018

As an attorney that spends a considerable amount of time in Immigration Court throughout the Houston area (Downtown, CCA Detention Center on Greens Road, as well as, via teleconference from the Joe Corley Detention Center), I watch for trends that may be developing over time.  Here are five of the most recent trends observed in immigration court in the Houston, TX area:

  1. New Judges – The Executive Office for Immigration Review, (“EOIR”) has been hiring new Immigration judges throughout the country, including the Houston area over the last few years to meet with the demand to cover the case load. This leads to two potential consequences:
    1. First, cases that were originally set for dates in 2019, 2020, or even 2021, may now be reset for much sooner dates as the heavy case load is dispersed among the new judges. Moreover, any date requests for individual merit hearing are receiving earlier dates by the newer judges.  Therefore, it is important that your attorney to be prepared to defend your case in a relatively short period of time between your last Master Calendar hearing and your Merits hearing.
    2. Secondly, there is a steep learning curve for the new judges so it is important that your attorney be willing to do all they can to make sure that your right to due process is always protected.
  2. Hearing Dates – As stated above, many cases over the last several years were being set for both Master and Merit hearings for dates in November 2019. However, there has been a trend of resetting these cases to sooner dates both as a result of the new judges being hired as well as other factors.  Therefore, it is very important for both you and your attorney to always remain in the look-out for any such changes to your hearing date.
  3. “Courtroom shuffle” – With the advent of the new Immigration Judges, there has been a bit of a reshuffle of the various courtrooms immigration judges occupy in the two buildings that make up the Downtown Houston Immigration court. While this may not seem as a major issue, its importance does increase in significance if you happen to be running late on the date of your hearing only to find out that your judge has switched courtrooms and is now in a different building.
  4. Notice to Appear for Applications – We have recently seen a trend where Notice to Appear (“NTA”) have been served on clients at significantly faster rates that previously seen. For example, individuals who have mailed late-filed I-751’s received, very shortly thereafter, not only an NTA but also had their initial Master Calendar hearing scheduled soon thereafter.
  5. Respondent’s Without Representation – A trend that seems to be continuing is that of the large number of Respondents that are appearing at various stages of the process of removability without any form of representation. While there are many instances when the respondent simply could not afford the services of an experienced attorney, on many other occasions it is as a result of misinformation.  It is important that you do all that you can in order to ensure that all your rights are protected as you navigate the complicated and often confusing maze of Immigration Court proceedings.  Hiring an experienced Immigration attorney is an important step in protecting your rights.

We are currently in the midst of many changes occurring with U.S. Immigration laws and policy.  Rest assured that as these and other trends continued to develop, the Powers Law Group will remain vigilant and do all it can to disseminate accurate and timely information.


Posted on by Ruby Powers in Asylum Leave a comment


01 GORUSME ONCESI–  BEYANNAME VE BASVURUYU INCELEYIN Bildirinizi ve basvurunuzu gonderdikten bir sure sonra ve iltica gorusmenizden bir iki hafta once gozden gecirin. Herhangi bir hatayı daha iyi yakalayabilir ve eklenmesi gereken onemli ayrıntıları atlayıp atlamadıgınızı fark edebilirsiniz.

02 GORUSME ONCESI- GORUSME ICIN HAZIRLIKBaşvuruyu tamamen gözden geçirin ve avukatınızla, yakın aile bireylerinizle veya arkadaşlarınızla hikayenizin ayrıntılarını inceleyin. Hafızanızı yenilemeye çalışın.

03 GORUSME ONCESI- CEVIRMENINIZ HAZIR OLSUNCevirmen konusunda hazırlıklı olun. Güvende olmak sonradan uzulmekten iyidir.

04 GORUSME ONCESI- KENDINIZE IYI BAKIN VE GORUSMEYE BUYUK BIR SINAV GIBI HAZIRLANINGorusmeden onceki gece iyi uyuyun. Gorusmeye gitmeden once yemeginizi yiyin, ac gitmeyin. Iltica gorusmeleri yarım saat hatta uc saat surebilir. Bu yogun durum için yeterli enerjiye sahip olmanız gerekir. 

05 GORUSME ONCESI- SABAH ERKEN SAATTE OLABILECEK GORUSME ICIN HAZIRLIKLI OLUNGorusme sabahın erken saatlerinde ise ve sabahın erken saatlerinde uyanmaya alısık degilseniz, gorusmenin yapılacagı gunden birkaç gun oncesinde kendinizi erken uyanmaya hazırlayın. Gorusmenin yapıldıgı gun kendinize, elinizden gelenin en iyisini yapabilmeniz icin beyninizi uyandıracak (birisiyle konusmak, kahve icmek vb.) yeterli zamanı tanıdığınızdan emin olun.


Bu, size gorusme yerine ne kadar surede varacagınız ve karşılasabileceginiz herhangi bir zorluk konusunda bilgi verir. Gorusme yerine erken saatte varmayı planlayın.


Yeni deliller, yeni destekleyici belgeler, yeni makaleler ve basvurunuza veya bildiriminize iliskin düzenlemeler varsa getirin.

 08 GORUSME SIRASINDA- ILTICA MEMURU ILE BAGLANTI KURMAYA CALISINIltica basvurusu hikayenizi ve nedenlerinizi anlaması icin iltica memuru ile baglantı kurmaya calısın. Bircok iltica memuru, gorusme sırasında not alır. Bu durumdan rahatsız olup, dikkatinizi dağıtmayın, sadece mülakata odaklanıp, sorulara cevap vermeye çalışın. 

09 GORUSME SIRASINDA- ILTICA TALEBINIZ ICIN IKI YA DA UC   ANAHTAR TEMAYI GUNDEME GETIRINArkanıza yaslanın ve neden iltica talebinde bulunduğunuz ile ilgili iki ya da uc temel noktayı dusunun. Gorusme boyunca ve ozellikle basında ve sonunda bu iki ila uc anahtar temayı tekrarlamayı unutmayın. 

10 GORUSME SIRASINDA- DUYGULARINIZI GOSTERIN  Aglayabilir ve duygularınızı belli edebilirsiniz. Sıgınma talebinizin dogrulugunu gosterecek herhangi bir duygu, korku veya dusunceyi ifade etmekten cekinmeyin.

RUBY POWERS Bir Meksikalı goçmen cocugu olan Powers, daha sonra bir Turk gocmenle evlenerek, uluslararası bir hayata yoneldi.
Belcika, Meksika, Turkiye, Ispanya ve Birlesik Arap Emirlikleri gibi ulkelerde yasamıs ve okumus olan Powers, Ispanyolca, Fransızca ve cok az Turkce bilmektedir. Gocmenlere yonelik kulturel hassasiyeti ve ilgisinin hizmet ve adalet tutkusu ile birlesmesiyle, Powers hukuk alanında kendini Gocmenlik Hukuk’una  adamıstır.


Posted on by Ruby Powers in Asylum Leave a comment

Aralık 2017

Iltica Gocmenlik Avukatı Ruby L. Powers

Kurul Onaylı gocmenlik avukatı olarak, dokuz yıldan fazla suredir, aralıksız olarak iltica davaları uzerine sadece gocmenlik hukuku alanında hizmet vermekteyim. Affirmative (Multeci bürosuna yapılan iltica) ve Defensive (Mahkeme yoluyla olan iltica) Iltica alanlarında bir hukuk ogrencisi olarak multeci hukugu kliniginde baslayan ve yıllardır devam eden calısmalarımdan dolayı, 18’den fazla ulkeden gelen muvekkillerimin iltica basvuruları yuksek oranda onaylanmıştır. Firmamın Amerika Birlesik Devletleri’nin her tarafında musterileri bulunmakta olup, yardımcılarım ve ben ülke genelinde gocmenlik burolarına gitmekteyiz.

Affirmative (gocmenlik burosuna yapılan) iltica başvurularında surec her zaman yogunluk ve talebe baglı olarak burodan buroya gore farklılık gostermektedir.Birkac yıl once, gorusmeler yalnızca uç veya dort ay ıcerisinde olup, hatta muvekillerin calısma onayı gelmeden once, karar belli olurdu.

Birlesik Devletler’de, iltica basvurusunda bulunanın nerede yasadıgına baglı olarak, iltica dosyasının hangi gocmenlik burosunda isleme konulucagına karar verilir. USCIS internet sitesinde Gocmenlik Buro Yerleskeleri (Asylum Office Locator) bu baglamda bir kaynaktır.

Basvurunun affirmative (Gocmenlik burosuna yapılan iltica) ya da Defensive (mahkeme yoluyla iltica) olması bir diger onemli faktordur. Affirmative Iltica gocmenlik burosu memuru tarafından iltica ofisinde yapılır. Gorusme genellikle bir memur, sıgınmacı ve avukatı ve gerekirse tercumanın hazır oldugu bir ofiste gerceklesir.

Defensive Iltica (mahkeme yoluyla) kisinin gocmenlik mahkemesi yargılaması altında magduriyetinin giderilmesi basvurusudur. Bu iltica bicimi, davanızı gocmen mahkemesinde gocmenlik hakimi onunde kanıtlamakla kalmayıp aynı zamanda davanın esası hakkındaki dava vekili tarafından herhangi bir muhalefetin ustesinden gelmek zorunda kalacagınızdan dolayı. daha zor olabilir.

Affirmative iltica surecindeki gorusme zamanını beklemek surecin bir kısmı olup, diger onemli nokta ise gorusme sonrasında, gocmenlik burosu, ulke, dosyanın icerigi ve guvenlik arastırmalarını kapsayan pek cok faktore baglı olarak alınan kararın beklenmesidir. Pek cok basvuru sahibi sadece gorusmeyi beklemeye odaklanır, ancak karar surecinin de zaman alacagının farkında olmak zorundadırlar.

Sıgınma talebinde bulunanlara, gorusme icin surecin ne kadar surecegi konusunda bir fikir vermek icin, tecrubelerime dayanarak asagıdaki bilgileri verebilirim. Firmam bu yıl iltica konusunda oldukca yogun bir hizmet sunmus olup, bu konuda paylasacagım cok fazla bilgi bulunmaktadır:

Birleşik Devletler’deki Affirmative sıgınma davaları icin 3 farklı islem sureci vardır.   Olagan surec, cagrı listesine eklenme ve hızlandırılmıs talep. ·

  • Olagan Iltıca Sureci: Iltica ofisine baglı olarak, Olagan Iltica İslem sureleri konusunda USCIS internet sitesinde Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin baslıgı altında bilgi alabilirsiniz. Bu bulten %100 dogru olmamakla birlikte farklı ofislerin islem sureleri hakkında daha iyi bilgi verebilir. Ornegin, bultende Houston ofisinde (Texas, New Mexico ve Oklohama eyaletlerini kapsıyan) gorusme suresinin 3 yıldan biraz fazla bir zaman aldıgı gorulmektedir. New Orleans ofisinde iki bucuk yıldan az bir sure almaktadır. ·
  • Cagrı Listesi: En az 5 iltica ofisi ile olan iletisim ve deneyimlerime dayanarak, her bir ofis de cagrı listesine eklenme islemi vardır. Bu liste, temel olarak iltica basvurusunda bulunmus birinin uzun suredir beklenen sıgınma gorusmesini iptal etmesi veya yeniden planlaması durumunda olur; ofis bu boşlugu doldurmak ister. Iltica basvurusu yapan pek cok kisi, gorusme gununu sabırsızlıkla beklediklerinden dolayı bir bosluk oldugunda cagrı listesine eklenmek icin gocmenlik burosuna talepte bulunurlar. Bu durumda kısı gorusme gunu ve saati konusunda birkac gun once ya da en fazla uc hafta oncesinde bilgilendirilir.


Ofisim Houston İltica Ofisine sadece 25 dakika uzaklıkta oldugundan, Houston merkezli muvekkillerimin cagrı listesine eklenmelerinde benim acımdan herhangi bir problem yoktur. Yakın zamanda, bir muvekkilim ile baska bir eyalette yapılacak gorusme tarihine 6 gunden az bir zaman kalmasına ragmen, 15 dakika icinde karar verip, gittik. Gorusmeye gitmeye karar verdikten ve kısa bir zaman diliminde yogun bir hazırlık sonrasında uzun bir yolculuk yaptık ve gorusmeden kısa bir sure sonra muvekkilimin iltica talebi onaylandı!

Houston’da, kisinin, Cagrı Listesine eklenme talebinde bulunması icin basvuru yapıldıktan sonra 1 yıl beklemesi istenir. Deneyimlerime gore, bu durum diger ofisler için gerekli olmayabilir ancak bunu dosyanızın gonderildiği ofis ile irtibata gecip, teyit etmek daha uygun olur.·

  • Hızlandırılmış Talep: Sıgınma talebinde bulunan kisinin kendisi ya da ister Birlesik Devletler’de ister başka bir ulkede bulunan yakın aile bireyleri  (dosyada adı gecen es ve cocuklar) acısından mutlak bir olum kalım tehlikesi ya da durumu varsa, hızlandırılmıs talepte bulunulabilir. Her bir ofisin farklı proseduru olabilir ancak genelde benzer olup, hızlandırma talebini destekleyen delillerle birlikte yazılı talepte bulunabilirsiniz. Basvurduktan sonra sıgınma talebinde bulunan kisi veya avukatı talebi takip edebilir. Muvekkillerimiz adına yaptıgım tum hızlandırma talepleri 3 hafta icinde gorusme ile neticelenmistir. Tekrar ifade etmek isterim ki, bu talepte bulunmak onemli bir mesele olup, hafife alınmamalıdır. 


Sonuc olarak gorusme için hazırlıklı olmak cok onemlidir. Iltica konusunda yazdıgım diger makaleleri asagıdaki listede bulabilirsiniz. Gorusmeniz oncesinde iltica konusunda deneyimli bir avukattan danısmanlık almanızı onemle tavsiye ederim. Uzun bir bekleyisten sonra gelen gorusme tarihi haberinden sonra, gorusmeye hazırlık yapmak için cok kısa zamanınız olabilir. Arastırmalara gore iltica talebinde bulunan kisinin avukatı varsa talebinin onaylanması avukatı olmayan birine gore daha yuksektir. Ancak lutfen avukatınızı secerken sadece gocmenlik konusunda degil, ozellikle iltica konusunda deneyimli avukatı secmeye ozen gosterin. Iltica talebinizin onaylanmasında dogru avukatı secerek gorusme gunu için iyi bir sekilde hazırlanmıs olmanın etkisi oldukca fazladır.

The Importance of Maintaining Status while changing to Student Status

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

by Immigration Attorney Michele Strickland


So you entered as a visitor and decided to go to college. You applied and were accepted to a school and the DSO issued an I-20, now what? It is very important to know that you may not enroll and attend classes while on a tourist visa (B-1/B- 2). You must first either leave the country and obtain an F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or remain in the U.S and apply to change your status.

For many it is a hardship to have to return to one’s home country to apply for a visa. You may apply to change your status to F-1 or M-1 if: you have not enrolled in classes; if your current status has not expired; and if you have not worked in the U.S. without employment authorization. To change your status you must file a Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Status.

One key factor to keep in mind is that you must remain in status while your application is pending. Many applicants must file a second Form I-539 – with a separate filing fee – to extend their B-1/B- 2 status. This applies to you if your current status will expire more than 30 days before the F-1 or M-1 program start date. USCIS may only approve the change of status if you maintain your status up to 30 days before your start date.

You must also file a second Form I-539 if your F-1 or M-1 start date is deferred to the following academic term or semester because USCIS did not make a decision on your application to change status in time to start classes. You must file the second Form I-539 in order to bridge the gap in time between when your current status expires and the 30 day period before your new program start date.

Make sure you check the USCIS processing times before filing your application to determine if you must plan to file two applications with two filing fees. Remember that you cannot enroll in classes until USCIS approves you change of status. This would be a violation of your status and you will not be eligible for a change of status.

It is always best to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer to explore your options and to ensure that you are following the law.

Current Affirmative Asylum Interview Scheduling Times

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

December 2017

By Asylum Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers

I am a Board Certified Immigration attorney and have practiced solely immigration law for over nine years with a constant case load of asylum cases.  Having worked on affirmative and defensive asylum since being a law student in the immigration law clinic and many years later, I have held a high approval rate for clients from over 18 countries.  My firm has clients all over the United States and my associates and I travel to asylum offices nationwide.

Affirmative Asylum processing times have always varied from office to office and depending on the volume and demand.  Several years ago, interviews only took three or four months and clients had a decision before they were even eligible for work authorization.

In the United States, depending on where the Asylum seeker is living, it will determine which Asylum office will have jurisdiction or authority to decide an asylum case.  A great resource is the Asylum Office Locator on the USCIS website.

Another important factor is if the application is affirmative or defensive.  Affirmative Asylum is held with an asylum officer at an asylum office or sub-office or on a circuit ride.  The interview is often held in an office space with one officer, the asylum applicant as well as their attorney and interpreter, if needed.  Defensive Asylum is when a person is under immigration court jurisdiction and applying as a form of relief. This form of asylum can be more challenging to obtain since you are not only having to prove your case before the immigration judge in immigration court but also would have to overcome any opposition by the trial attorney regarding the merits of the case.

It is important to note in affirmative asylum processing, waiting for the interview is one part of the process but waiting for the decision afterwards can depend on many factors including the office, the country, the facts of the case, and security clearances. Many applicants focus only on the interview wait and must realize the decision can take a while as well.

To give many asylum seekers an idea of how long the process it taking for an interview, I wanted to provide the following information from my experience.   My firm has experienced a higher volume of asylum case work this year and I have a lot of information to share:

There are three processing times for affirmative asylum cases in the United States: regular processing, call in request and expedited request.

  • Regular Asylum Processing: Depending on the asylum office, the regular asylum processing times are posted on the USCIS website called Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin. This bulletin is not 100% accurate but does give a better guide to the processing times at the different offices. It has only been in use the last couple of years. For example, it shows that in the Houston office (which covers the states of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma), is taking a little over 3 years for an interview. In the New Orleans office, they are taking less than two and a half years.


  • Call In Lists: From my experience working with or contacting at least 5 asylum offices, each office has a call up list process. This list is basically on the idea if an asylum applicant were to cancel or reschedule their long-awaited asylum interview; the office would like to fill the spot. Many asylum applicants are eagerly awaiting their interview day so they notify the office that they are willing to be called up if an open interview appointment comes up. This can take many different forms including being given only a couple days’ notice to three weeks’ notice.


As my office is only 25 minutes to the Houston Asylum office, I am comfortable for my Houston-based clients to be on the Call In list. I recently had less than 15 minutes to decide if my client and I could travel to a third state and be ready for the interview in less than 6 day from the call. We decided to take the appointment, we prepared intensely with little time, and we both traveled long distances for the interview and were able to get an approval not very long afterwards!

In Houston, they ask that the person wait one year after filing before asking to be placed on the Call in List. In my experience, I don’t see that as the requirement for the other offices but it good to check with the office you will be working with.

  • Expedited Requests: If an asylum seekers has an extreme life or death emergency or matter for themselves or their immediate family (spouse and children who qualify as derivatives on their case), whether it be in the US or in another country, they can request an expedited interview. Each office may have a different process but it looks the same, you make the request in writing with evidence to support the expedite claim. After submission, the asylum seeker or their attorney can follow up as well. In my experience for my clients, we have received interviews within three weeks for all the expedite requests I have made. Again, these requests should not be made lightly as it is a serious matter.


In closing, it is important to be prepared. I have written other articles on asylum I list below.  If you are an asylum seeker without an attorney, I highly suggest you consult with an experienced asylum attorney before your interview. You might have little time to prepare once you receive your interview notice after waiting a long time.  Research shows that an asylum applicant with an attorney has a better chance of approval than without an attorney.  But please choose your attorney wisely as not all immigration attorney s have experience with asylum.  Your asylum results can be greatly impacted by doing your best in preparing, choosing the right attorney, and being ready for your interview day.

Other Articles:

Trump Administration Ends Temporary Protection for Haitians

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

The Trump Administration has decided to end Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Haitians who were in the U.S. and could not return to the Haiti as a result of the devastations left by a 2010 earthquake and subsequently by a 2015 hurricane. Haitians that were in the U.S. under this Temporary Protection Program will be expected to leave by July 2019 or face deportation proceedings.

Currently, there are approximately 320,000 people benefiting from this program. Salvadorans and Haitian comprised the two largest groups of individuals under TPS with 200,000 and 60,000 respectively. TPS was signed into law in 1990 by then President George H. W. Bush. It is designed to allow individuals from countries that are undergoing civil strife or recovering from a natural disaster that prevents them from returning, to remain in the United States while the situation back home returns to normal. These individuals are also eligible to receive work authorization while in the United States. The U.S. government does routinely review each group’s status in order to decide whether or not to continue the protection.

The U.S. government has also recently announced that it would be making another assessment in order to decide whether or not to extend TPS to citizens of El Salvador. This decision is expected to be announced sometime in January 2018.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration Sanctuary Cities Order

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

On Monday, November 20 th , a federal judge permanently blocked President Trump’s executive order cutting funding from jurisdictions that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, in lawsuits brought by the California counties of San Francisco and Santa Clara, ruled that the Administration did not have the constitutional authority to impose new conditions on spending already approved by Congress. He disagreed with the administration’s position that the executive order only applied to a few grants affecting less than $1 million slated to Santa Clara County and possibly no money for San Francisco County. In his ruling, Judge Orrick disagreed, stating that the rule was written so broadly it is likely to affect hundreds of millions of dollars to these counties.

The Trump administration has appealed the decision to the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Updated and Improved Provisional Waiver and recent processing times

Posted on by Ruby Powers in I-601 Waivers, I-601A Waivers, I-601A waivers Leave a comment

By Provisional Waiver Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers
November 15, 2017

What is an I-601A waiver (Provisional Waiver)?

The I-601A, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, is a waiver that was introduced in 2013 under the Obama Administration. This waiver allows certain individuals, who entered the United States unlawfully, to be able to pursue residency while maintaining family unity, granted they meet the criteria of extreme hardship and have a qualifying relative. While this program still requires that individual to leave temporarily abroad for their consular interview and immigrant visa, as opposed to the waivers that preceded, the time a family spends apart is significantly reduced and, in many cases, is the only available option for legal permanent residency. This program has proven to be successful, and while the concept of leaving the United States may be frightening, it not to be feared if you have an experienced attorney by your side.

At the Powers Law Group P.C., we pride ourselves in successfully guiding our clients through the consular processing and I-601A waivers process. In recent months, we have seen a reduction in the adjudication period for I-601A waivers – from 7 months to 4 months. On August 29, 2016, an expansion of eligibility for such waivers began to be implemented to applicants including allowing Legal Permanent Residents to be eligible as Qualifying Relatives and allowing other visa categories, not just immediate relatives, to participate, among some other provisions.  Furthermore, in December 2016, a clarification of the extreme hardship standard was made which makes the process easier and clearer for adjudicators, clients and attorneys to meet and/or understand.

What does an I-601A waiver require?

In short, the expanded I-601A waiver requires that you have a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) or United States Citizen (USC) parent or spouse – whom is considered your qualifying relative- that can show extreme hardship whether it be financially, emotionally, medically, and/or mentally, as a direct result from your absence (separation) OR extreme hardship in the event of the qualifying relative’s relocation to your country. Children (whether it be adult or minor) do not qualify to be qualifying relatives; with that said, to meet the extreme hardship standard, affidavits from you and your qualifying relative are suggested along with supporting documentation of the facts and events stated on your affidavits. This type of waiver is not appealable; however, could be re-filed in the event of a denial. It is important you schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney with experience in waivers to determine whether you or your loved one qualifies for this type of waiver.

What is the time expectancy of an I-601A waiver?

Overall, the entire I-601A provisional waiver process, in the case of an immediate relative spouse petition, for example, from the initial consult to the U.S. Consulate interview, is approximately 18 -24 months. Details for this timeline are as follows:

  • Step 1: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative Submission


      • (8-10 months) Adjudication period. Receipt notices are received within 2-3 weeks of submission.


  • Step 2: National Visa Center (NVC) Part I


      • (1 month) Following approval of I-130 by USCIS; USCIS sends the file to NVC for processing and issuing fee bills associated with Immigrant Visa Application and Affidavit of Support.  


  • Step 3: I-601A, Provisional Unlawful Waiver Submission and Adjudication


      • (4 months) Adjudication period. Receipt notices are received within 2-3 weeks of submission.


  • Step 4: NVC Part II


      • (2-3 months depending on if a request for evidence)
      • Submission of I-864 and DS-260 among other documents


  • Step 5: Visa appointment


    • (1-3 months) for notice of interview depending on the consular post.
    • Medical Exam


Please note that this timeline only takes into consideration recently-noted trends in processing times by the government, and not any additional time that preparation of documentation by the client and attorney may take.

The Powers Law Group has helped thousands of families stay united and take the leap to legal permanent residency and a more secure future.  It is important to your journey to do your research in hiring the attorney and firm to assist you through this process.  Be aware of ‘notario’ fraud and people or groups offering to “fill out forms” for you as immigration law is more complex than this and often people become victims of unauthorized practice of law. Learning about a firm’s experience with waivers and knowledge of various countries, including your own, are essential.  As they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.


Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

The Trump administration continues its anti-immigrant agenda by ending TPS for some countries and threatening to remove the designation for more. Most recently, the administration announced it will terminate Nicaraguan TPS, with the last day of TPS to be Jan. 5, 2019. This follows the termination of TPS status for Sudan (last day:Nov. 2, 2018). Honduran TPS has been extended for 6 months.


Updates on Temporary Protected Status

  • Sudan:TPS for Sudan received a 12-month termination in Oct. 2017. The last day of TPS for the Sudan will be Nov. 2, 2018.
  • South Sudan:TPS for South Sudan received an 18-month extension in September 2017.
  • Nicaraguareceived a 12-month termination in Nov. 2017. The last day of TPS for Nicaragua will be Jan. 5, 2019.
  • Hondurasreceived a 6-month extension in Nov. 2017.


Upcoming TPS decision dates

  • Nov. 23, 2017: Haiti
  • Jan. 8, 2018: El Salvador
  • Jan. 30, 2018: Syria
  • Apr. 25, 2018: Nepal
  • July 5, 2018: Yemen
  • July 19, 2018: Somalia
  • March 3, 2019: South Sudan


For up-to-date information about TPS expiration dates, renewal dates, articles, and practice advisories, please visit CLINIC’s great resources at

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