Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents. Instead, they must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. They must also obtain a waiver after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible. The process takes a long time.
Under the final rule, an immediate relative of a US citizen who are inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence may obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver if they may demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
The new provisional waiver process does not exempt immediate relatives from departing the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives.