AILA Commends USCIS for Clarifying Waiver Policy for Immediate Family Members of U.S. Citizens

Monday, January 27, 2014

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for clarifying its policy regarding immediate family members of U.S. citizens who are seeking a provisional unlawful presence waiver and who may have minor infractions on their record. The provisional waiver process was designed to allow certain spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States to remain in the country while applying for the waivers they need to become permanent residents.

"The announcement of the process over a year ago brought a huge amount of hope to many U.S. families who were facing the frightening prospect of being separated from their loved ones for months, and maybe years, while they wait overseas to have their visa applications processed. There were a whole lot of spouses, fathers and mothers, and children who were relieved to hear that they might be spared that upheaval," said AILA President Doug Stump. He continued, "However, what we found was that many of these applications were being denied because of minor infractions, which under the law would not otherwise prevent an individual from being granted permanent residence."

"This new memo is extremely important as it offers necessary guidance to USCIS employees to ensure that they look carefully at all of the facts presented by the applicant to make sure they are not inadvertently excluding someone from the process based on a minor infraction, a petty offense, or one that falls under the youthful offender exception. Offenses that fall under these categories are not serious and do not warrant denial of an applicant's waiver," noted Mr. Stump.

"I hope that USCIS will look back at the cases that were denied before this guidance was available and reopen those applications. Families across the country deserve to be spared the turmoil that such a denial represents," he concluded.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14012741.