DHS Announces New Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families

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On June 17, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security announced new actions to keep families united during the family-based petition process. Currently, certain noncitizen spouses and children of U.S. citizens must leave the US for extended periods of time while waiting for their family-based Legal Permanent Resident applications to be processed. The new action will allow DHS to consider (on a case-by-case basis) waiving the requirement for these individuals to wait abroad.

The new action will apply to noncitizen spouses and children (including stepchildren) of US Citizens who meet the following criteria:

Noncitizen spouses

  • present in the U.S. without admission or parole (entry without status);
  • continuously present in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024;
  • have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024;

Noncitizen children

  • present in the U.S. without admission or parole (entry without status); and
  • have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.

To be considered for this waiver, noncitizens will file a form with USCIS with supporting documentation and pay a fee. DHS will provide additional information regarding eligibility and the application process in the near future. DHS will consider previous immigration history, criminal history, the results of background checks and national security and public safety vetting, and any other information USCIS considers relevant.

We will provide updates as available.

Written by Brittany Barnett.

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