On June 25, 2022, USCIS released a Policy Alert, which will allow some people to wait out the 3-year and 10-year unlawful presence bars under INA 212(a)(9)(B) in the United States. If someone is unlawfully present in the United States over 6 months and then leaves the United States, the person is not eligible to apply for a green card for 3 years unless they qualify for a waiver. If someone is unlawfully present in the United States over 1 year and then leaves the United States, they would not be eligible to apply for a green card for 10 years unless they qualify for a waiver. In the past, those 3 years and 10 years were required to be spent outside of the United States. Now, USCIS policy is that it does not matter where the person is and whether they returned to the United States for purposes of completing that time.
The group of people who the change really helps are those who overstayed a visitor visa in the past, left the United States, then came back to the United States on a visitor visa or Border Crosser Card. Now, they may be able to apply for green cards through in the United States without a waiver if they have a relative who can petition for them.
The change does not fix all unlawful presence issues. The change does not fix other unlawful presence issues related to entering the United States without inspection or without papers. The change also does not affect who is able to complete the entire residency process in the United States versus leaving for an interview at the Consulate.
If you have questions about applying for your permanent residence, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys here.