Sometimes, U.S. laws can feel confusing for those who haven’t had to deal directly with them. However, it is always better to be properly informed rather than having to face unwanted “surprises” later on. Many people in the United States used to be afraid that leaving the country to obtain a green card would result in barring them from entering the country for three or ten years.
However, as of 2013, this category of people can apply for a provisional waiver of three-or-ten-year time bar, so that they can leave the country feeling more secure about the fact that they will not have to leave their lives (and maybe even families) behind for so many years.
Who is eligible for this provisional waiver, though? Here are some of the characteristics that may qualify you:
- You are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. This includes children who are under the age of 21, legal spouses (as long as the marriage was legal where it occurred) and parents. However, it does not include a lot of other green card applicants who want to receive their green card based on their relationship with people who are already in the U.S. For instance, spouses, children and parents of permanent residents are not currently eligible for the provisional waiver – although DHS has promised to change this in the future.
- You are at least 17 years old.
- You are physically present in the United States.
- You haven’t yet been provided with the consular interview date at the moment at which you submit your papers to receive the provisional waiver. Keep in mind the fact that if you have already received the interview date for the consular interview, you will not be eligible to apply for the waiver – and you will not be able to reschedule either.
- You have to be admissible in the United States – if DHS considers that you are inadmissible for any kind of reason, they will not grant you with a “yes” for the provisional waiver.
- You have to prove the fact that your relatives in the United States will go through hardships should you not return for three or ten years. In this case, the list of eligible green-card applicants is even shorter than in other cases because it does not include relatives of a U.S. permanent resident – only children and spouses of a U.S. citizen.
The most important thing to know is that you should be very well-organized. Follow through with all the steps of applying for the provisional waiver and make sure you submit all paperwork necessary. Last, but definitely not least, if you receive a “no” from DHS on your application for the provisional waiver, do not despair. You are allowed to reapply at a later date too. Sometimes, these things take time. Be prepared, stay focused and don’t lose your hope! Believe it or not, thinking positively can sometimes go a much longer way than people think.