In what could be the biggest news in immigration law in over ten years, the Obama Administration announced on Monday they intend to change the process for those needing to leave the United States to apply for a green card.
Right now, U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses and children for greencards, even those who entered the country illegally. Since 2001 the law has required the family member being sponsored to leave the country and apply for a visa abroad. If the family member has lived in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year attempting this process is risky because they are automatically barred from returning to the U.S. for ten years. To overcome this ten-year bar, the family member will have to apply for a "waiver." This "waiver" is not guaranteed, processing lasts for months and, worst of all, the current law requires the application to be submitted in person outside the U.S. keeping families separated for months if not years waiting for the decision.
In the coming months, the Obama Administration has proposed a process to allow the family member to apply for the waiver in advance before departing the United States. As one government official states, "Having the waiver in hand will allow them to depart knowing they almost certainly will be allowed to return." With a waiver in hand, the family member applying for a greencard in their home country should only be gone for weeks, rather than months or years.
While waiting for the government to finalize the proposal, we recommend those who could benefit to take action now to put their family member in a position to take immediate advantage of the new waiver process once it is put into effect.
If you think you or a person close to you might be able to benefit from Monday's announcement, contact us immediately by calling 336-944-6782 or going to www.mjimmigration.com.