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Current Trends in Provisional Waiver Processing Times

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, I-601A Waivers, I-601A waivers, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Processing of Applications and Petitions Leave a comment

Powers Law Group, P.C.

October 3, 2016

By Board Certified Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers

Provisional Waiver Processing Times: Current Trends

At Powers Law Group, we have extensive experience in waivers in general  and have filed many successful provisional waivers since the program’s inception in March 2013 and look to have more filed with the recent program’s expansion from August 2016.

Currently, the provisional waiver process is taking about 18-24 months to complete from start to finish for a spouse-petitioner/qualifying relative case.  Below is a more detailed breakdown of the provisional waiver processing times:

  • Step 1: I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
    • 5-7 months, could take longer when demand increases from the expansion
  • Step 2: National Visa Center Part I
    • 1 month after approval to receive fee bills
  • Step 3: Provisional Waiver Filing
    • 7 months for adjudication
  • Step 4: National Visa Center Part II
    • 2-3 months for adjudication
  • Step 5: Visa appointment/Connect Waiver Approval with U.S. Consulate & Obtaining Visa
    • 1-3 months for notice of interview depending on the consular post

Please note that these times are estimates based off recent trends in government processing times and do not take into consideration attorney & client preparation. Although this may seem like a lengthy process, it is an investment in your future. Our clients have been grateful for our encouragement to complete the process because successful completion and return to the U.S. with a green card allows you to obtain work authorization, a Social Security number, and a driver’s license.  With a provisional waiver you can have the security and peace of mind that you are in legal status with a path towards citizenship.

Please call for a consultation if you would like a review of your case to see if you or a family member might qualify.


TOP 12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROVISIONAL WAIVER RULE – I-601A WAIVER

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, I-601A Waivers, Immigration Law, Immigration or Notario Fraud, Immigration Trends, Processing of Applications and Petitions 1 Comment

By Ruby L. Powers – Provisional Waiver Attorney – January 4, 2013

  1. Final rule published January 3, 2013 and USCIS will start accepting I-601A waiver (provisional waivers) on March 4, 2013
  2. Only applies if the applicant’s qualifying relative is a US citizen spouse or parent.
  3. Only applied if the applicant’s ground of inadmissibility will be unlawful presence.
  4. Applicants still have to leave the US to follow through with the consular processing and waiver. Please note: this rule doesn’t keep the applicant from leaving and triggering a bar but it does diminish the time abroad.
  5. As per the form and instructions, applicants can apply for the provisional waiver more than once.
  6. If an applicant is at the National Visa Center stage, they must notify NVC of plans to apply for the provisional waiver rule.  One must notify the NVC as soon as the fee bills have been paid, by emailing NVCi601a@state.gov.
  7. If an applicant has had a visa interview scheduled, to be able to still submit a provisional waiver a new visa petition ( a new I-130) must be filed and one must ask the Consulate to cancel the registration of the previous immigrant visa case.
  8. If an applicant is in removal proceedings,  has their case administratively closed, has no calendared hearing in the future,  AND otherwise qualify, an applicant can submit a provisional waiver
  9. Only USCIS can adjudicate the I-601A waiver (not immigration court)
  10. An applicant should only file a provisional waiver if they don’t have any criminal history that would make them inadmissible. Therefore, one must consult with an immigration attorney if the applicant has any criminal history and wants to pursue this.
  11. After the I-601A waiver is approved, it is expected that the visa appointment in the applicant’s home country will be 2-3 months afterwards.
  12. If the Consulate at the visa appointment determines the applicant has other grounds of inadmissibility, an approved provisional waiver is automatically revoked.

 

The Law Office of Ruby L. Powers is located in Houston, Texas helping clients around the US and world with their US Federal Immigration needs.
Please beware of ‘notarios’ unlawfully practicing law as it is illegal and they often do not suffer the consequences of their actions as much as the applicants do who use them. The author sees this time and time again via her legal consultations with clients who have cases made more difficult to solve by notario actions.Immigration attorneys and immigrants are grateful for this opportunity by DHS!

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LAS 12 COSAS MAS IMPORTANTES QUE DEBE SABER SOBRE LA REGLA DE PERDON PROVISIONAL – PERDON 1-601A

  1. La norma final fue publicada el 3 de Enero del 2013 y el USCIS comenzara a aceptar el perdón I-610A (perdón provisional) el 4 de Marzo del 2013. 
  2. Este perdón solo aplica si el pariente calificado (madre, padre o esposo(a)) es ciudadano(a) American(a).
  3. Este perdón solo aplica si el motivo de inadmisibilidad del cliente es la presencia ilegal.
  4. Los solicitantes deben salir de los EE.UU. para seguir adelante con el proceso consular y perdón. Nota: esta regla no impide que al quitar el país se active el “bar” por haber residido en este ilegalmente pero si disminuye el tiempo que el solicitante debe estar en el extranjero.
  5. De acuerdo con el formulario y sus instrucciones, los aspirantes pueden solicitar el perdón provisional más de una vez.
  6. Si el solicitante se encuentra en la fase de Centro Nacional de Visas, este debe notificar al CNV sobre sus planes de aplicar al perdón provisional. Se debe notificar al CNV tan pronto como las cuotas hayan sido pagadas, por correo electrónico a NVCi610@state.gov.
  7. Si el solicitante ya tiene una entrevista programada, este deberá presentar una nueva solicitud de visa (una I-130 nueva) para poder solicitar el perdón provisional, así como pedir al Consulado cancelar cualquier petición de visa previa.
  8. Si el solicitante se encuentra en proceso de deportación, tiene un caso admirativamente cerrado, no tiene una audiencia programada en el futuro, y califica de otra manera, este puede aplicar a un perdón provisional.
  9. Solo USCIS puede adjudicar el perdón I-601A (no la corte de inmigración).
  10. El solicitante debe presentar una exención provisional solamente si no tiene antecedentes penales que lo harían de otra forma inadmisible. Por lo tanto, se debe consultar con un abogado de inmigración si el solicitante tiene antecedentes penales y quiere continuar con el proceso.
  11. Una vez que el perdón I.601A sea aprobado, se espera que la cita para la visa sea programada para 2 o 3 meses después en el país de origen del solicitante.
  12. Si el Consulado, en la cita para la visa, determina que existen otros motivos para la inadmisibilidad del solicitante, el perdón provisional aprobado es automáticamente revocado.

 Escrito por Ruby L. Powers, Abogada de I-601A/ Perdón Provisional

Oficina Jurídica de  Ruby L. Powers

Houston, Texas ayudando a clientes alrededor de los EE.UU. y el mundo con sus necesidades Migratorias Federales en los Estados Unidos.

 

 


Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver announcement – January 3, 2013

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, State and Local Immigration Rules Leave a comment

After a year of waiting all of 2012, we have it folks! The provisional unlawful presence waiver is being published today, January 3, 2013 and will become effective on March 4, 2013 (60 days later).

For more info

Secretary Napolitano Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process

Release Date:
January 2, 2013

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.

“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 4,000 comments in response to the April 2, 2012 proposed rule and considered all of them in preparing the final rule.

“The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves,” USCIS Director Mayorkas said. “The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before they can return to the United States after departing to obtain an immigrant visa. Under the existing waiver process, which remains available to those who do not qualify for the new process, immediate relatives cannot file a waiver application until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible. 

In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process.

Under the new provisional waiver process, immediate relatives must still depart the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Individuals who file the Form I-601A must notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center that they are or will be seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives. Details on the process changes are available at http://www.regulations.gov/.

For more information, visit www.uscis.gov.


Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers – March 30, 2012 – I-601A waiver

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, Processing of Applications and Petitions Leave a comment

Reminder: This proposed process is not in effect. To learn more, read this alert.

What USCIS Proposes

On March 30, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register requesting public comment on its plan to create an alternative process for certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for and receive a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility while still in the United States, if they can demonstrate that being separated from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent would cause that U.S. citizen relative extreme hardship. The goal of the proposed process change is to reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members go through the consular process overseas to obtain an immigrant visa.

Why We Propose It

Currently, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States are barred from returning to the United States for as long as 3 or 10 years if they leave the country. Immediate relatives can obtain a waiver of the unlawful presence bar if they show that a U.S. citizen spouse or parent will experience extreme hardship if they are required to remain outside the United States. The immediate relative also would have to show that they warrant a favorable exercise of discretion.   But in order to obtain the waiver, these individuals must depart the United States and wait abroad while the waiver is processed.

Under the current process, therefore, U.S. citizens suffer unnecessarily long periods of separation while family members go through consular processing overseas to obtain an immigrant visa. The proposed process change lessens the length of separation by reducing inefficiencies in the current immigrant visa process. USCIS believes that this proposed change will streamline the immigrant visa process for immediate relatives whose only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence. USCIS plans to adjudicate the provisional waiver application in the United States before the immediate relative departs for his or her immigrant visa interview, which will reduce the length of time immediate relatives must spend abroad for consular processing.

What the Proposed Process Would Do

Under the proposed process, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who would need a waiver of unlawful presence in order to obtain an immigrant visa could file a new Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, before leaving the United States to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. All individuals eligible for this streamlined process are still required to depart the United States and must meet all legal requirements for issuance of an immigrant visa and admission to the United States.

An individual may seek a provisional unlawful presence waiver if he or she:

  • Is physically present in the United States;
  • Is at least 17 years of age;
  • Is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition (I-130) classifying him or her as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen;
  • Is actively pursuing the immigrant visa process and has already paid the Department of State immigrant visa processing fee;
  • Is not subject to any other grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence; and
  • Can demonstrate that the refusal of admission would result in extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

An immediate relative would not be eligible for the proposed process if he or she:

  • Has an application already pending with USCIS for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident;
  • Is subject to a final order of removal or reinstatement of a prior removal order;
  • May be found inadmissible at the time of the consular interview for reasons other than unlawful presence; or
  • Has already been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Allowing immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to receive provisional waivers in the United States before departure for their immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate means that:

  • Immigrant visa processing times will improve because of greater capacity in the United States and fewer case transfers between USCIS and the Department of State;
  • Immigrant visas will be issued without unnecessary delay (if the individual is otherwise eligible); and
  • The period of separation and hardship many U.S. citizens would face due to prolonged separation from their family members will be minimized.

Next Steps

This new process will be implemented only after USCIS publishes a final rule in the Federal Register with an effective date. USCIS will consider all comments received as part of the proposed rulemaking process before publishing the final rule. The current waiver process remains in place and will continue to remain for those who may not be eligible for a provisional waiver.

DO NOT file an application or request a provisional waiver at this time. Any applications filed with USCIS based on this NPRM will be rejected and the application package returned to the applicant, including any fees, until the final rule is issued and the change becomes effective.

For additional information, please see our I-601A Questions and Answers document, linked at the upper-right side of this page.

This page can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/provisionalwaiver

 


Ciudad Juarez I-601 Waiver Timeline

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Law 4 Comments

Ciudad Juarez I-601 Waiver Timeline

August 25, 2011 by I-601 Waiver Attorney, Ruby L. Powers

A common question I am asked by potential clients whose only option to obtain legal permanent residency for their spouse or fiancé from Mexico is, ‘How long will it take?’  The answer is not concrete but depends on several variables but I can give a general idea. The fastest with no complications, a very engaged client, and a pilot program approval would about 9-10 months from I-130-I-601 approval according to today’s processing times. In this ideal situation above, of that time if the client was in the US before the visa appointment, the client would be in Mexico 3-3.5 months.

But there are so many variables that it is best to discuss the steps and their timing. Also, it is important that anyone beginning this process understands that there is a possibility that the loved one cannot return to the US for 10 years.

First, the I-130 petition usually takes between 3-5 months for USCIS to adjudicate. My most recent I-130 was approved in 3 months. Although USCIS processing times list 5 months on their website. For a fast adjudication, a well-documented I-130 is essential.

Once the I-130 is approved, the file is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).  The fee bills, which basically means advance payment for consular services, usually arrive within 4 weeks.  With the new electronic NVC system, the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application and I-864 Affidavit of Support can be sent in with supporting documents within a week of paying fee bills. This is where the case can slow down if the client is unsure or if they are not prepared for the next steps.

From the point NVC has the DS-260/I-864, it has been taking about 4 weeks for NVC to process. I am also usually following up and making sure NVC has everything.  They changed the process a lot the last few months with the MEP filing and DS-260 so I follow up after a month of submission to make sure there are no problems. Then, we receive an email with the visa appointment scheduled in Ciudad Juarez. Recently, from the date of notice of the appointment and the visa appointment, it is about 3-4 weeks. Not a lot of time if you aren’t prepared. I normally like my clients to have their waiver started and almost finished by the time their family member leaves for Juarez.

Once we have the visa appointment, the client needs to schedule a biometric appointment about two days before the visa appointment and also plan to do a medical exam. Only after the biometric appointment is scheduled, should you schedule your flights and travel plans to Juarez.

After the initial interview and expected denial, the client can leave Juarez but needs to schedule their I-601 waiver appointment. The I-601 appointment timing varies. A year or two ago, the waiver appointment could be two days after the visa appointment, then it was 2 weeks later and now it has become approximately 2 months later.  From what I have learned, this time allows for USCIS to do a FBI background check and make sure there no problems.

At the waiver appointment, the client submits their waiver application.  My firm prepares a complete packet including: cover letter, I-601 with filing fee, G-28, and G-325, legal brief, qualifying relative’s affidavit, and supporting documentation.  As of Aug 25, 2011, the Juarez waiver results have been taking about a month from the waiver appointment to learn whether the client was approved in the pilot program or referred or put on the slow track.

Approved in the pilot program means the waiver was approved favorably and as fast as Juarez could adjudicate it. Approximately 50% of waivers through Juarez are approved through the pilot program.  If there was information missing or the waiver didn’t appear to have sufficient hardship at first glance, the client has an old A number, criminal record or any other complication, then the waiver is usually referred for further review.  According to a recent referral notice, USCIS states it takes 12 months to adjudicate referred waivers. According to a recent USCIS CDJ email, it states they are taking 10 months. According to their website, they are taking 13-15 months.  Memos, meetings, and notices state that USCIS is trying to get that processing time to 6 months and has been sending their waivers to other offices in the US for help to decrease the backlog.  They have had the 6-month goal for about 2 years.  I think that the referral adjudication is close to 10 months right now.

When USCIS adjudicates a referred case, it can either be approved or denied. If approved, you might have to update some documents like medical, I-864, etc at the Consulate because those have expired from so much time passing. If denied, you can either reapply or appeal.

If you reapply, it is possible to reapply starting at the waiver stage and not having to start all over again. Appeals take about  2 years to be adjudicated.  Depending on the circumstances, I generally suggest reapplying.

If approved in the pilot program, it can take a couple of weeks to get the visa in the passport. But once you have it in the passport, you can travel to the US and your green card will soon follow.

It is important to understand that the I-601 process is a serious undertaking.  It requires that families be prepared and know that significant time, money and risk is involved.  You should make sure you are working with an immigration attorney you trust, cares about your case and is promptly responding to your communication. If the waiver is denied, the law requires that the intending immigrant remain outside the U.S. for a specific period.  For many, this period is ten years.

In the end, with a strong case and the required preparation and patience, an approved I-601 waiver will provide a family security and joy knowing that their family member is in legal status, can live in the US, and has work authorization, ability to travel and a path to citizenship.   An experienced attorney and an engaged client can make a huge difference in this process.  Like many things in life, there is a great deal of work and risk involved before receiving a great reward.

Ruby L. Powers is an immigration attorney and owner of the Law Office of Ruby L. Powers which is located in Houston, TX. She represents individuals and businesses in all areas of immigration law all over the world. She enjoys reuniting families by helping them obtain I-601 waiver approvals.

 


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