Foreign nationals who are preparing to leave the U.S. for an immigrant visa interview must first secure an unlawful presence inadmissibility waiver before doing so. Some of the individuals needing to secure this waiver before their departure include U.S. citizens’ immediate relatives such as parents, spouses and children. They may all be able to secure this waiver provided that they meet all other eligibility requirements for an immigration visa. Those persons who immigration officials selected for the Diversity Visa program or other employment- or family-sponsored ones may qualify for this waiver as well.

Many immigrants’ visas only allow them to remain in this country for a defined amount of time. The Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(9)(B) spells out how anyone who remains in the U.S. more than 180 days must secure an inadmissibility waiver to avoid facing penalties for their unlawful presence.

A U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular official must generally confirm an immigrant’s ineligibility to enter the country before issuing any waiver. U.S. immigration law also prohibits typically foreign nationals from requesting a waiver until appearing at their visa interview on foreign turf.

Immigration officials created the unlawful presence waiver process to minimize the amount of time permanent residents and their U.S. citizen relatives are apart from each other while they’re seeking immigrant visas.

The process may take longer than you hope or end up differently from what you’d expect if you don’t have your paperwork lined up correctly or follow through with the process as you should. An immigration law attorney can review your Glenwood Springs case and advise you whether you can handle your case within Colorado’s borders or you need to do so from outside the U.S.