Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens may now, starting March 4th, 2013, seek the waiver of unlawful presence while within United States. Government restores this practice after many years when it required that foreign national spouse, children and parent travel to the U.S. Consulate abroad to file the waiver application. Applications were then sent to USCIS for decision.
This caused family separation because the foreign national family members could not return to their home in U.S. until favorable adjudication of waiver application. Many applicants who traveled abroad without knowing the implications of unlawful presence bar were caught by surprises at the Consulate that they could not return to U.S. as a whole family. Stateside filing of waiver is aimed at minimizing family separation while waiting for USCIS to decide on the waiver application.
Provisional waiver, as it is popularly called, is a good thing but it is limited to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Non citizens do not get this benefit. It leaves out spouses and children of permanent residents who would continue to travel abroad as before to file this waiver applications and wait for a favorable decision before they can return to their families with lawful immigration status.