Yesterday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated in correspondence to stakeholders that it will reopen “all I-601A waiver applications that were denied prior to January 24, 2014, solely because of a prior criminal offense, in order to determine whether there is reason to believe the prior criminal offense might render the applicant inadmissible.”
USCIS began adjudicating waivers in its US offices in 2011. Prior to 2011, waivers were adjudicated at USCIS offices located overseas. USCIS also began adjudicating “provisional waivers” for immediate relatives who required waivers solely for an unlawful entry and/or unlawful presence prior the applicant’s departure from the United States to apply for an immigrant visa.
USCIS began issuing denials for those applicants for whom it had “reason to believe” that they would be inadmissible based on criminal convictions, which was highly prejudicial to applicants who had minor criminal convictions that did not render them inadmissible. Now the Service is now indicating that it will reopen waiver applications denied prior to January 24, 2014 based on the “reason to believe” standard. Once these cases are reopened and reviewed, USCIS will then make a decision to approve the waiver request, deny it, or request additional evidence from the applicant.