The visa process is incredibly stressful for any immigrant looking to establish residency here in the United States. It is even more stressful — and, indeed, treacherous — for those who have resided in the country illegally. Deportation is an obvious threat, but applying for a visa is a very complicated matter. The illegal immigrant usually has to leave the country to apply, only to find out that once they have left the U.S. that they are ineligible.
Torn from their family and without the legal resources necessary to apply for a visa successfully, these immigrants are often left with nowhere to go and with no one to turn to. But a new federal rule aims to eliminate (or at least reduce) this unfortunate family separation that occurs all too often for illegal immigrants in California and, really, all across the U.S. The rule will create a new status, applied for with a new document called Form I-601A.
A successful applicant will be granted a “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver” which, while not offering protection from removal, will at least let the illegal immigrant know if they are eligible for a visa before they are deported. It will also grant them an extended period in the U.S. while the waiver is processed.
After the waiver is cleared, it could be mere weeks before a removed individual is going through the visa process and on their way to reuniting with their family. This new waiver affords an applicant the time to consult an experienced immigration attorney and prepare for the legal situations that could arise during the deportation process — and, ultimately, the visa process.
Source: Multi-American, “New rules aim to end visa seekers’ long family separations,” Ruxandra Guidi and Leslie Berestein Rojas, Jan. 2, 2013
- To learn more, please visit our Los Angeles family-based immigration page.