In some circumstances, applicants for U.S. green cards are afraid to leave the U.S. for their consular visa interview because they could be restricted from returning to the U.S. based on their time spent unlawfully residing in the United States. To encourage these applicants to apply for a green card, the USCIS allows immigrants to apply for a provisional waiver, also called a stateside waiver. This waiver gives applicants a clear answer on whether or not they will be allowed to return to the U.S. after their consular visa interview.
Applicants who receive a “no” answer will be given this answer before they leave, this way they are not barred from the U.S. for three or ten years. The U.S. immigration enforcement has indicated they do not use this information to identify and remove immigrants unless they are known criminals or pose a threat to public safety.
Eligibility Requirements for Provisional Waiver
In order to be eligible for a provisional waiver, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Currently reside in the U.S. at the time of applying
- You must be admissible to the U.S. If the consular finds you are ineligible for your visa for another reason such as criminal history, your provisional waiver could be revoked.
- Prove that if you were not granted the waiver, your stateside spouse or parent would fall under extreme emotional or financial hardship.