USCIS Provisional Waiver
A provisional waiver from USCIS removes a specific ground of inadmissibility from an application for permanent residence. This waiver applies to an alien who has been found to have been in the country unlawfully. USCIS, or the United States Center for Immigration Services, enacted the provisional waiver to speed up the wait and reduce the risk for those who want to apply for permanent resident status but are subject to the bar for unlawful presence.
The new standards were adopted in March of 2013. The waiver applies to immediate relatives of citizens who live in the United States. Prior to this new program, people who requested a waiver would have several months in their home country before getting approved or denied. This could place substantial hardship on both those applying and the loved ones who were already in the U.S., especially if the waiver was ultimately denied.
Under the new rules, the alien is able to wait in the United States while the waiver application is pending. For instance, let’s say someone had unlawfully stayed in the U.S. for six months. After this, they applied for permanent residence and returned to his or her home country. If this happened, they would have to wait several months or more before coming back to the U.S. With the new rules, the application for a waiver if fully adjudicated while the immigrant remains in the United States, thereby greatly reducing the amount of time he or she must spend in the home country. Those who apply for permanent residence can return to the country within a few weeks, as soon as the consular interview is completed.
Before the new provisional waiver, those who wanted to apply would have to go back to their home country regardless of circumstance. Now, those who are unlawfully in the country can stay during the provisional waiver application process. Once they get approved, they still must go back to their home country, but can return to the U.S. after just a few weeks. This was not possible to achieve so quickly prior to the provisional waiver program.