Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, announced an important change in immigration law called a provisional unlawful presence waiver.
The waiver will greatly reduce the time that a United States Citizen is apart from relatives. It will “waive” away the violation of remaining in the U.S. illegally if there is a hardship to a U.S. Citizen spouse or parent. Additionally it lessens the amount of time that an applicant will have to wait outside the US before they receive a green card.
The applicant must have a United States citizen in the immediate relative category. To qualify for this category they must either have a parent who is a United States citizen if they are under 21 and unmarried, a son or daughter if they are over the age of 21, or a spouse.
Then the applicant must ask for a green card based upon their relationship with that immediate relative. The applicant has to apply for the waiver of the time that they were illegally in the US. The basis for this waiver is the hardship to the US Citizen parent or spouse. After both applications are approved, the applicant has to fly to a consulate outside the US to complete the process.
Under the old law, the applicant would have to file the applications and depart the US without ever knowing if the application was granted or denied. If the application was denied, then the applicant would be unable to return to the US. Under the new law, applicants can know the result of the application while in the US.