WAIVERS (and how we can help you)

Many immigrants discover that they are inadmissible or removable from the United States. If you are inadmissible, it means that you are not legally allowed to enter the U.S.A. If you are removable, it means that you are not legally allowed to remain in the U.S.A. There are many reasons why people are not allowed to be here. Sometimes it is because, at some time in your life, you have been convicted of a crime. Sometimes it is because you have used fraudulent documents. And sometimes it is simply because you have remained in the U.S.A. without authorization from the U.S. Government. The common term is that you have been here "illegally."


Starting March 4, 2013, the U.S.C.I.S. is allowing the husbands and wives of United States citizen who have been unlawfully present in the United States, and who are ineligible to adjust status, to participate in the Provisional Waiver program. Under this new process, immediate relatives must still depart 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 purpose of the Provisional Waiver program is to reduce the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The Provisional Waiver programs allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. "This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa," said Secretary Napolitano. "The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves," USCIS Director Mayorkas said. "The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon." In order to obtain a provisional waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.


Hardship is the legal standard you need to prove. Hardship means "suffering." Immigration law mentions many levels of hardship, ranging from "extreme" to "extreme and unusual," but there is no exact definition of "hardship." Generally it means "suffering more and differently than other people in the same situation." My job is to help you find your own personal hardships, and explain those to the reviewing officer. In most cases you need to prove that your American relative or dependent is suffering hardship, and in most cases the fact that you will also suffer hardship doesn't help a lot. Our government understands that you suffer because you can't be here legally, but they have said that's a consequence of whatever it is you have done in the past that makes it illegal for you to be here.


A waiver is a petition to the American government to forgive everything you've done wrong in the past, a promise that "all has been forgiven" and, even though you were previously inadmissible or removable, you are now allowed to legally be here or come back! There are many forms of such "waivers" and most need to be made together with another application to come here or remain here. For example, if you have been convicted of certain crimes, you would need the government to "forgive" you for those crimes. The application to forgive you is called a waiver.


Most people who entered without having been inspected at the border, and who have remained here, are not allowed to get their green card in the U.S.A., but must apply through an American Consulate in their native country. For Mexico that is the Consulate in Ciudad de Juarez. It is the largest U.S. Consulate, and they have their own waiver department. The bar to re-entry does not come into play until after you leave. However, even if you are married to an American citizen, or if you have American children over 21 years of age, you cannot get your green card inside the U.S.A. if your last entry was without inspection! This is what we call a "Catch 22" situation, because you can't get your green card here, but if you leave you cannot come back for ten years. And neither of those choices are very good.

Let's look at the choices. Let's assume that you were born in Mexico, you have been married to an American citizen for two years, and that your spouse has filed an immigrant petition for you, form I-130. You last entered the usa 5 years ago without a visa and with the help of a Coyote. In this case, even with an approved I-130, your only option under current law to get a green card is to schedule an appointment with the U.S. embassy in Juarez. But that means that, at the same moment you depart from the usa, you are barred from reentering for 10 years! Your other choice of course is to do nothing, remain in the U.S. illegally, and hope you don't get caught! OUCH!

Fortunately, because your spouse is an American citizen, you can file a waiver which, if approved, will allow you to come back immediately.


I have helped a lot of people prepare their application for waiver, and while there is no guarantee that it will be approved, I CAN guarantee you that i will prepare the best waiver for YOU! I approach each waiver individually, it is based on YOUR life (and that of your family), it is YOUR story we are telling the government, and ultimately, it is the suffering of YOUR family that should persuade the people who work in the waiver department to grant your waiver and allow you to come back to the States without having to wait ten years! THAT IS MY PROMISE TO YOU!


Legal immigration for people who need a waiver is a three step process. Generally, the process starts with a visit to my office, where we discuss your eligibility for a waiver. For instance, if you have traveled in and out of the usa several times without a visa, you are probably not eligible for a waiver.

Once we determine that you are eligible, we will start the process with the filing of an immediate relative petition, or form I-130. This is step 1! We need to wait for an approval before we can go to the next step, although we will already start preparing for the waiver.

Step 2 takes place with the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is part of the State Department, and will process your petition for interview with the U.S. embassy in the country of birth of your relative. As your attorney, we will complete all forms and submit all necessary evidence to the NVC, and, upon review, the NVC will send a notice of interview with the embassy.

Step 3 takes place at the foreign embassy. Prior to granting an immigrant visa, the embassy needs to approve the request, and will schedule an interview. Most embassies now require that the U.S. spouse be present at this interview. This is also the time where the embassy determines that your alien relative has a bar to reentry, and is eligible to submit a request for waiver of this bar. In all countries other than Mexico, the request for waiver needs to be submitted at the embassy, during this interview. The embassy will then forward this request to U.S.C.I.S., who will either recommend approval or denial. Mexico, because they receive so many requests, has created a special "waiver unit" who will decide the request. You need a special appointment to submit the request for waiver with this unit, and our office will set this appointment for you immediately when we are informed of your appointment at the embassy.

Upon approval of your request for waiver, your alien relative will be allowed to come back to the U.S., and will receive their green card as evidence of lawful permanent residence status.


My attorney fee for a complete immigration / waiver - package starts at $ 6,500.--. This fee does not include government filing fees and other cost, such as the required physical exam. It does include all work described above, starting with the filing of the immigrant visa petition, form I-130, and including any follow up work directly connected with this application, such as responding to a request for evidence at any point throughout the process. In other words, it's a bumper to bumper coverage. I will be personally responsible for all work involved. This does not mean that I will personally fill out out your forms. That will be done by one of my legal assistants, but it does mean that i will personally review everything before it is submitted to the government. In addition, you will meet with me in person to complete all personal statements, and for evidence review. You will also meet with me in person to discuss any legal questions you may have throughout the process. My office has a policy of returning phone calls within 24 hours!

Remember that this is the base fee for a regular case. Many cases have complications, and they may increase the fee, because generally complications mean that I have to do more work. Complications in your case, such as, for instance, criminal or fraud issues, or removal orders, will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and it may increase the fee.


During our initial office conference, I will make my best determination, based on existing law, whether there is a waiver available for you or not. If not, I will tell you so! In addition, the waiver process is a long one, on average lasting more than a year from the moment we start. Changes in circumstances, or changes in law, may change your eligibility. Obviously, we need to keep each other informed of such changes.


Sometimes, your alien relative is eligible to apply for her green card in the U.S., but is considered inadmissible because of certain things she has done in the past, such as having been convicted of a crime, or having used fraudulent information with the U.S. Government. In some of these situations, she may be eligible to apply for a waiver together with her application for permanent resident status, in the U.S. Of course we will be able to assist with these waivers as well.


The only alternative to having to leave the United States in order to return legally exists, under limited circumstances, if you have actually been picked up by Immigration, and are about to be deported. In certain cases you have the right to ask an Immigration Judge to "cancel" your removal and, if that request is granted, you will become a lawful permanent resident with a green card. This relief is available only to a limited number of people, and the level of hardship you need to prove is much higher than that required for a waiver.

For starters, you need to satisfy three requirements to even be eligible: 1. You need to have been in the United States for more than ten years without permission from the U.S. government. 2. you must have been of, what Immigration calls "good moral character" for at least ten years, and 3. You must have a U.S. or permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.