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The Unlawful Presence Waiver and the Obama Waiver

The importance of family unity

For many years, if family members who were not legal permanent residents of the United States entered the country to be with a family member who was, they were obligated to apply for an unlawful presence waiver. This waiver, which would acknowledge that they had entered the country without proper inspection, would also make them eligible to apply for a green card or visa. However, once applying for the unlawful presence waiver, they were forced to return to their home country to do so. Unfortunately, returning to their home country would enact the 3/10 year bar, during which time they would not be allowed to return to see their families.

Under the Obama administration, this has changed. The Obama waiver, announced in January 2012, takes the place of the unlawful presence waiver. The Obama waiver is similar to the unlawful presence waiver. It also applies to husbands, wives, and children under the age of 21 who have an immediate family member in the United States as a permanent legal resident who have entered the United States without proper inspection in order to be with that family member. The major difference is that the Obama waiver allows families to stay together while they wait for their visa or green card to be processed. This way, families will not have to go through a painful separation for an undetermined length of time.

Unlike the unlawful presence waiver, the Obama waiver acknowledges the importance of family unity. Families that apply for the Obama waiver are able to begin the necessary paperwork together in the United States to obtain their green card or visa. If you or any of your family members are already in the United States and fear the bureaucratic hurdles of applying for visa or green card, contact Bill Abdallah to find out how the Obama waiver could help.

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