WASHINGTON (CN) - Noncitizen spouses or children of U.S. citizens who have overstayed their visas or entered the country without documentation may more quickly be reunited with their loved ones, under new rules proposed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, individuals who have overstayed a temporary visa or entered the country without documentation must leave the United States and are subject to a three- and sometimes 10-year bar on reentry.
Once denied entry, by U.S. consular officials in the country of origin, the spouses or children of a U.S. citizen can apply for a waiver from the Secretary of Homeland Security if they can prove that their absence will be an "extreme hardship" on their citizen parent or spouse.
The new rule would allow them to apply for the waiver before they depart the United States, thus reducing the amount of time it takes to process their application for reentry. The expedited application process would be available only to individuals whose sole reason for being denied entry to the U.S. is illegal presence in the country.
The proposal does not alter the requirements that the noncitizen must leave the U.S. and apply for a visa from their home country, nor does it change the criteria used by the secretary to determine if an "extreme hardship" would be caused by a ban on re-entry.