USCIS Updates on New Provisional Waivers and Centralization for I601s

Here are some updates based on Pilar Peralta Mihalko, Branch Chief International Operations Division, International, who spoke at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Texas Chapter Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico on April 13, 2012:

Centralization of all I-601s Underway

USCIS is in the process of centralizing ALL I-601 extreme hardship waivers that are filed by applicants who are standing abroad. The current procedure is if a foreign national was required to apply for an immigrant visa abroad at a US Embassy and they were eligible to file the I601 extreme hardship waiver, the filing was sent from the US Embassy to a foreign USCIS office with jurisdiction. This office would then adjudicate the I601 and if approved, then re-route the case back to the Embassy. The time that it takes to do this can easily take 8 months and many times can be up to a year. Moreover, the decision-making results between the different foreign USCIS offices has varied dramatically. USCIS has thus determined that all I601s will now be filed at a US Lockbox facility in the United States and then be adjudicated by adjudicators at a USCIS Service Center, most likely Nebraska Service Center.

This change in procedure according to Peralta Mihalko, is expected hopefully “by August” and will only be applicable for cases not yet filed. Cases already sitting at a foreign USCIS office will not benefit from this change. However, Peralta Mihalko states that as of Friday, 350 test cases from USCIS offices abroad were actually forwarded from various USCIS offices abroad through the Lockbox to test the system. Otherwise, no other cases will be proceeding in this manner. She also noted that Juarez will go through a 6 month transition process where applicants will have a choice if they want to file at the Lockbox or with USCIS in Juarez.

Advantages for this process: 1) consistency in adjudication standards 2) faster processing times 3) applicants will be able to track their case using the Case Status system currently in place – all are WELCOME benefits to the current I-601 process for foreign nationals abroad.

If you have questions to ask, please contact Colorado immigration lawyer, Catherine Brown for more details or a consultation.

Updates on the New Proposed Regulation on Provisional Waivers filed Stateside for Applicants of Immediate Relatives

USCIS has already proposed the regulation recently on a new procedural option for filing an I601 extreme hardship waiver PRIOR to leaving the United States for an Embassy interview, see my prior blog for the specific eligibility details http://www.cbrownlaw.com/2012/04/01/family-immigration/uscis-comes-out-with-provisional-family-waiver-details/

Ms. Pilar Peralta Mihalko clarified that the option requires the applicant to be moving forward with the immigrant visa process. USCIS expects the National Visa Center immigrant visa fees to have been paid but whether all documents need to be submitted and interview scheduled is unclear. Ms. Peralta Mihalko was previously at the Nebraska Service Center training new adjudicators on handling these I601s, which is where the anticipated provisional waivers will be routed. Again, a handful of cases from USCIS Juarez will be forwarded to Nebraska to get the team more prepared for this type of application. The fact that the Anaheim office is conducting the training is certainly a positive as Ms. Peralta Mihalko pointed out because this office handles many similar types of adjudications such as humanitarian parole and recently, current I601 overflows from USCIS Juarez.

What is the anticipated time of the final rule which is when the rule becomes effective? Looking at November/December 2011 at the earliest.  Stay tuned for more updates and contact Catherine Brown, Denver immigration lawyer, if you would like more detailed information about the process or eligibility.

 

 

14 Comments

Noel Jabrica

hello! Recently, I am granted of prosecutorial descrition means- removal proceedings has been closed. Now there is a new policy of I601, and on my history i am qualified to apply for new I601,My question is ,do I need to go abroad in order to get a greencard.

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admin

Hi Noel
Yes you will still be required to go abroad to get your immigrant visa, unless you somehow qualify to adjust status in the US. This law will not change that process – merely where the waiver is adjudicated.

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Megan

I wanted to know if there was a way to know for sure if this provisional waiver will go into effecect or could it be denied. And if it is approved then would you have to be married to your spouse before it goes into effect to fall into the requirements and be eligable.

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admin

You will have to be married and have the I-130 approved before filing the provisional waiver in the US. It could be denied and right now the way the proposal is written, there is no appeal. But you can always refile. If it is approved then your spouse proceeds with obtaining his/her immigrant visa in his/her home country and because the provisional waiver is granted, will not have to wait for the waiver to be processed abroad – will spend minimal amount of time getting immigrant visa (approx 1-3 weeks).

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kaila

i recieved a letter of transfer to nebraska service center dated may 14 and my husband had a i601 waiver appt sept 21 in mexico could my case be apart of the test run and if so how long after transferred could i get a desicion..

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admin

It is very likely your husband’s case is in the pilot program. With the process so new we have no public processing times but the USCIS official that I met at a conference in April says they are hoping for 3-6 months for adjudication.

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Nidia Garcia

Would it be a good idea to file the I130 for my spouse now while the I601 waiver is being finalized?

Reply
admin

That is a good question but unfortunately I cannot give legal advice on this forum – just information. Telling you when to file something or not is advice. Feel free to call our office if you want legal advice.

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antoneta

The judge gave me the removal proceeding decision, my I 130 was approved, I’ve been in the US since I was 13 been married for 6 years to a US citizen, does this mean I can file for green card here in US or go aboard,, the new law for dreamers act I know I benefit from it does this in any way help me to citizenship

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suadi

hello there, I just heard today about the waiver I601 my husband has his appointment on august 7 in Juarez for the waiver. could he cancel it and send the waiver to nebraska?

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melanie

I received a letter that my file was transfer to nebraska an now they are asking for me to submit more evidence before Aug 2012 that has been done on july 17 2012 when i went to check my status online it says 60 days can it be sooner then that..

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Karen

Will adjudicators from the consulates be transfered to the US or will they be hiring an entirely new staff?

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admin

It is new staff and likely at the Nebraska Service Center, which is currently adjudicating I601 waivers for applicants who are residing abroad. They have been trained supposedly by the people who were in charge of USCIS Juarez.

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