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One of the most common ways for immigrants to obtain permanent resident status in the United States is through a family member who is a citizen. In order to begin this process, the U.S. citizen sponsor will have to correctly fill out a visa petition known as Form I-130 or “Alien Petition.” In the past, once that was processed, the non-citizen would have to be interviewed in their home country for the right to enter the United States legally.

Many immigrants, however, worry that beginning this process will result in deportation because they entered illegally. Others may worry that if they leave the United States for their consular visa interview, they will not be allowed to return. This is when the new provisional waiver begun in 2013 can prove useful.

By applying for a waiver, applicants can learn from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services whether or not they will be able to reenter the country after being interviewed. This will allow them to leave without worrying about whether or not they will be allowed to return. It will also dramatically decrease their time abroad from one year to approximately one week. Not everyone, however, who is eligible for a green card is eligible for this provisional waiver.

In order to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, you must:

  • Have an immediate relative, such as a spouse, parent, or unmarried child, who is a United States Citizen.
  • Be at least 17 years of age.
  • Be physically present in the United States at the time of applying.
  • Not be otherwise ineligible to live the United States due to certain crimes or serious immigration violations.
  • Be able to show that your U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen parent will suffer extreme hardship if you were unable to live in the U.S.

The relatively new provisional waiver option makes the immigration process less scary for those worried about deportation. That being said, becoming a citizen or earning the right to legally live and work here still can be an extremely complicated process. No one should face these types of life-changing legal procedures without help from a skilled Los Angeles provisional waiver attorney.