The I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver: Why it is a game changer?
Prior to March 4th, 2013, if you were an undocumented immigrant of an immediate relative of a US Citizen and you wanted to adjust status via a family visa, you had to leave the United States for lengthy periods of time until a waiver for unlawful presence was approved. Then you could enter on an immigrant visa. This caused separation of some families for years at times.
Effective March 4th, 20013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they will begin accepting another inadmissibility waiver (601 A Waivers). This new form is called the 601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.
The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver was implemented so that undocumented immigrants would not be separated from their families in the US for lengthy periods of time. For example, Mathur is an undocumented immigrant (who has been in the US for 10 years) but married to a US citizen. Prior to the implementation of the 601A wavier, Mathur would have to leave the country for years prior to being able to apply for entry as an immigrant. Under the new 601A provisional waiver, Mathur can apply for the waiver in the US. He can wait for it to be approved while he stays in the US. And once approved, he can leave the US for a few days/weeks for consular processing. After a few days/weeks once the consular processing is completed, he could reenter on an immigrant visa.
I-601A Eligibility Requirement
The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is available to applicants who meet the following requirements:
- The waiver only applies when an applicant has been in the US unlawfully. It does not waive other grounds such as immigration fraud and criminal convictions.
- The applicant has to leave the United States for a short period of time to apply for their visa at an American consulate.
- The applicant has to demonstrate via documentation that they are an immediate relative (parent, child or spouse) of a United States citizen.
- The applicant has to also demonstrate that should they be forced to return to their home country, the United States citizen would face extreme hardship.
- The applicant is physically in the United States at the time of applying for the waiver.
- The applicant is at least 17 years of age.
- The applicant was not assigned an interview date before January 3, 2013. (There are some exceptions to this rule.)
Some common questions pertaining to the 601A Waiver.
How does one establish extreme hardship?
One can establish extreme hardship by demonstrating the dire financial, emotional impact on your US relative. One can show how it impacts family unity and family well-being. One can also show that should the entire family have to relocate, it would have a very negative impact on the entire family. These are just some examples on how to demonstrate hardship.
I am outside the US already. Can I apply? I have an interview scheduled already. Can I apply?
Unfortunately, those outside the US are not eligible for the waiver. Those who have an interview scheduled are not eligible either.
I am in removal proceedings. Can I apply?
If one’s case has been “administratively closed” and is not reset on the court calendar prior to the application being submitted, one may be eligible to apply.
If the 601A waiver is approved and one is in removal proceedings, then the proceedings have to be terminated or dismissed. This request for termination or dismissal has to be approved before one leaves the US for the immigrant visa interview.
I am under a final order of removal. Can I apply?
Unfortunately, those under final orders of removal are not eligible to apply.
I had a previously scheduled immigrant visa interview (before January 3, 2013) abroad that I could not attend, can I apply?
In most case, the answer is no. However, there are some exceptions.
Do I have to pay the fees for the 601A waiver?
Yes, the fees must be paid. There is no waiver for the fees.
If my waiver was denied, can I appeal it?
There is no appeal. One can consider refiling the waiver.
Can I ask for an expedited response on my application?
There is no premium processing available but one may ask for an expedited decision.
For a review of you case and to further discuss the matter, feel free to contact my office at 800-348-1370 or at email@example.com.