If an immigrant abroad who is ineligible for an immigrant visa for having entered the United States without a visa and/or for overstaying a visa admission more than one year who are married to a US citizen or resident he/she may apply for a Waiver with the Immigration Service in the United State Consular. Processing for visas abroad was often unreliable and lengthy. Consular officers could often be arbitrary and capricious. For example, we have a client from Central America, married to a US citizen, whose waiver abroad was denied because he had a tattoo. The Consul presumed he was a terrorist. To appeal would have taken a long time and the result would have been unpredictable. Now the US citizen or resident can apply for a waiver for his/her spouse.
Processing waivers in the United States is expected to lead to greater efficiency and to cut down processing time. Foreign nationals who had been admitted in the United State, who over stayed more than one year and then departed could face a long separation from loved-ones because a waiver was required abroad. The time for adjudication now will be greatly reduced because the Immigration Service is more consistent than Consulates.
For a limited period of six months, immigrant visa applicants in Mexico will have the option to send their waiver applications to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, or to mail their applications to the Immigration Service in the United State. This post has already been trying to reduce its backlog by sending waivers to the United State.
The USCIS is aware of the overload of cases at Consulates and this consolidation of waiver review to one location is a highly constructive measure to deal with this problem. This is a welcome change for what is now an overly long and burdensome process to United States citizens or permanent residents.
If you need help or advise, call us at 212-944-9420.