On March 26, 2007, a new waiver pilot program began at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This new program decreases the time it takes for a decision to be reached in I-601 waiver applications.

Under current immigration law, if a person enters the United States illegally (without being admitted and paroled) they are not eligible to receive immigration benefits. It is very common for foreign nationals to enter the U.S. illegally and subsequently marry U.S. citizens. Once this occurs, the citizen will begin the process that will enable the spouse to obtain a green card. This process, however, is not finalized in the U.S., but involves a final interview at a U.S. consulate in the foreign national’s home country. For Mexican nationals most interviews are scheduled at the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez.

At the interview, the applicant files an I-601 waiver package to request that Immigration Services excuse the prior illegal entry into the U.S. and unlawful presence in the United States. This waiver package normally took between nine months and a year to process and reach final decision. During this time, the applicant was required to remain in Mexico until a final decision had been reached.

With the new Waiver Pilot Program, Mexican nationals may be able to obtain a decision on their waiver packages within less than 48 hours. This is a very exciting program as it makes the waiver process much more practical for most applicants who found it extremely difficult to spend a year outside of the U.S. while their case was pending.

Previously, people had to leave their home, family members, young children, and jobs for up to a year while waiting for a decision. Now, they may only need to wait a week or two for the entire process to be completed.

You may be a candidate for this exciting new program! If you have any questions, or would like to begin the process to use the new pilot program, please contact us.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.