Published: April 1, 2012

On March 30, 2012, US CIS published a proposed rule for the implementation of the “stateside” I-601 Waiver program. That does not mean the program is now in effect, just that the government has commenced the beginning steps toward implementation of the program, with some commentators expecting the rule to be implemented by the end of the calendar year.

As previously discussed here, the proposed program would serve to streamline processing of certain applicants for permanent residence who under current law, must leave the US for an extended period for their final green card/ interview, and appear before a US consular officer in their home country. Instead of facing a 3 months or so wait to receive a decision on their waiver application while outside the US, the new proposal will allow for a wait as little as a few days outside the US, since the 3 months of processing is now being proposed to take place before the applicant’s departure. And what is being decided in this period is an “I-601 waiver” application to excuse, or “waive”, the individual’s previous period of unlawful presence in the U.S. and consequent 3 or 10 year bars to reentry, where cases are approved only if the applicant can demonstrate that his denied reentry will pose extreme hardship for his U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.

Of course, there’s no guarantee all applicants for a waiver will be approved under this proposed program, but this new procedure will no doubt be of great comfort to families by letting them know ahead of time if the main obstacle (3 year bar) to their loved one’s reentry has been removed – and repeat, before the applicant leaves the US for their interview in their home country. Thus, if the applicant’s waiver application is denied, that decision will be known before any trip outside the US takes place. The applicant will then know there is no reason for the applicant to appear for their interview before a US consular officer in their home country, since he will know he will indeed be subject to a bar to reentry that has NOT been waived.

Developments toward actual implementation of this program will continue to be reported on here.

Copyright © 2012, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois