I-601A Provisional Waiver: How to Apply From the US
The I-601A waiver form is filed by immigrants to waive their inadmissibility to the United States on the grounds of unlawful presence. Immigrants who are otherwise banned from obtaining a Green Card can apply for this waiver by filling out the form-1601A.
USCIS accepts this form if the ground of inadmissibility is based on unlawful presence. Eligible applicants are mostly, but not always relatives of US citizens and permanent residents, or Diversity Visa Lottery winners. Immigrants who apply for this form eventually have to leave the United States and have an interview with a Consular Officer to obtain the immigrant visa. The form can be filed while the immigrant is in the United States before he or she leaves for the Consular Interview.
Grounds of Inadmissibility Based on Unlawful Presence
- The applicant has been living unlawfully for 180-365 days in the US after the age of 18 years before voluntarily leaving the US. These individuals are not allowed to return to the US for a period of 3 years;
- The applicant has been living unlawfully in the US for more than 365 days after the age of 18 years before voluntarily leaving the country. These individuals are not allowed to return to the US for 10 years.
Purpose of the I-601A Waiver
Before I-601A waiver was available, immigrants had no choice but to leave the US and attend a consular interview before applying for the waiver. As the immigrants had no clue whether or not the waiver would be accepted, they risked being trapped outside the US. The I-601A waiver helps promotes family unity.
How to Apply for the I-601A Waiver in the US
Here is how to apply for the I-601A waiver:
You must first have a family petition (Form I-130) or VAWA self-petition (Form I-360) approved.
The National Visa Center (NVC) will contact the applicant and inform them about the next steps. The processing fee will also communicated to the applicant.
The Form I-601A application for provisional unlawful presence waiver is then submitted to USCIS. The required documents and the fee will accompany this application.
USCIS will inform the NVC once it approves the application for provisional waiver.
The applicant can then leave the US and proceed with the interview for the immigrant visa abroad.
In case the application for a provisional waiver is denied, the applicant can review the reasons for the denial, appeal or apply again.
Who is Eligible for The I-601A Waiver
To be eligible for the I-601A waiver, you need to prove extreme hardship for your qualifying relative. Here is some more information that the applicant should ensure:
- Meet other eligibility requirements for an immigrant visa. For example, you must pass a health check and not have any disqualifying criminal convictions;
- Prove physical presence of the applicant in the US while submitting Form I-601A;
- The Applicant should at least be 17 years of age;
- Have an eligible family member (parent or spouse) who will suffer extreme hardship if your unlawful presence is not waived, in other words, forgiven.
The Applicant should be able to provide evidence that in case of denial of the waiver, the applicant’s parent or spouse will suffer from extreme hardship.
Along with Form I-601A and the processing fee, the applicant will be required to submit evidence of eligibility in the form of documents. A detailed personal statement describing the hardships that the applicant’s family will face if the waiver is denied is also highly recommended.
What Happens After Approval?
Once the I-601A waiver is approved, the Applicant appears for the interview at the Consulate or Embassy abroad for an interview. Once the immigrant visa is approved, the Consulate retains the applicant’s passport for a short processing period. After a few days or weeks, the Consulate will send the passport containing the visa via DHL. It will be sent in a sealed packet, also known as the ‘Immigrant Visa Packet’. The visa will be valid for entry into the U.S. for four months. The applicant will receive the physical greed card once he or she enters the United States with the immigrant visa stamp on the passport.
To Sum it Up
Form I-601A allows certain immigrants to apply for a waiver for their unlawful presence in the US, without leaving the country. The I-601A waiver is available for immigrants who have a parent or spouse who is a US citizen or Permanent Residence who will suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not approved. If the waiver is approved, the applicant can leave the United States for the Consular interview without fear that they will face a 3- or 10-year bar.
The I-601A waiver deals solely with one ground of inadmissibility (unlawful presence) under the immigration law. Inadmissibility, in general, refers to a ban from getting the US visa or Green Card.
Other grounds for inadmissibility can be due to a criminal act, fraud, or other violations of immigration law. For those types of inadmissibility, a different waiver is available. Consult with our attorneys to find out if and how you can overcome them.
Contact our office today to speak to one of our experienced immigration lawyers. Our lawyers can guide and advise you with this complex process. You may call us at (407) 818-1244 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.