Prior to March 2013, aliens who entered the country unlawfully, had almost no venues to legalize their stay in the United States. Generally, individuals who remained in the United States unlawfully for more than 1 year, are subject to a ten-year bar, and to obtain permanent residence needed to apply for a waiver, however to receive the benefit of the waiver, had to leave the United States and wait for the approval of the waiver outside of the country. Under the original waiver program, families had to remain separated for multiple years.
However, beginning in March 2013, those aliens could begin utilizing a new program, called an Unlawful Presence waiver, under which it is no longer necessary to leave the boundaries of the United States to be eligible for the waiver. Those individuals can submit all their evidence while they remain within the United States. Once their waiver is approved, then they have to only leave to attend their previously scheduled appointment at a US Consulate in their home country, and receive an immigrant visa. Those who qualify are, aliens who 1. Are the spouse of a United States citizen, or, are the child of a United States citizen parent, and 2. Have an approved Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative 3. Prove that if not granted admission to the United States, which will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent. 4. Not have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview by the Department of State before January 3, 2013. 5. Meet all other requirements for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, as detailed in 8 CFR 212.7(e) Those who do not qualify: 1. Entered the United States unlawfully more than once, 2. Had a previous order of removal, and a subsequent unlawful entry, 3. Arrested and convicted of those crimes, for which there is no waiver available (e.g. aggravated felonies, drug offenses (related to possession/intent to sell, etc. related to cocaine, heroine, but not 30g or less of marijuana). For a more detailed explanation of the program and for an evaluation of your case, feel free to call us for a consultation.