The new Family Unity Waiver is scheduled to take effect on March 4, 2013 and instructions for applying have already been issued, and the filing fee has been established; BUT THERE ARE NO FORMS YET! Immigration is encouraging people to start applying on Monday, but they don’t expect to have the new forms available until Monday, hopefully.
This is a great new process for those immigrants who are not eligible to complete their process for permanent resident status inside the US. There are a number of criteria for qualification, and one of the criteria is particularly concerning.
The criteria for the new Family Unity Waiver follow, and an applicant must meet ALL of the conditions:
1 17 years of age or older
2 Immediate relative of a US citizen only (spouse, child or parent of US citizen)
3 Have an approved Petition for Permanent Residence
4 Have paid the consular processing filing fees
5 Demonstrate significant hardship to the US citizen relative
6 Be present in the US
7 Not have been previously scheduled for a consular process interview before January 3, 2013.
The last condition is particularly troubling in that many individuals chose not to leave the US for their consular processing interview, knowing that this new Family Unity Waiver was coming soon. The old process requires individuals to leave
the US, attend their consular interview, be denied by the US consulate, then file a Hardship Waiver in Phoenix, AZ, wait for an approval, send the approval back to the US Consulate abroad, and finally be permitted to return to the US. Families were separated for 18 months to 2 years waiting for the completion of this old process.
When families heard that this new Waiver was coming shortly, and was intended to eliminate family separation, they waited for the new Waiver and did not leave the US to proceed under the old process. NOW, it appears that they may still have to proceed under the old process. The new Waiver, which was enacted specifically to eliminate family separation time, may end up separating many families whom it was intended to protect. The instructions address any prior consular interview cancelations, re-schedulings or failure to appear.
But, there are no forms yet, so no one can apply anyway.