If you are in the United States but have committed acts that have resulted in you being labeled as inadmissible for entry into the country, there are still ways of staying in the U.S. by applying for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. Also known as the “statewide” waiver of inadmissibility, Form I-601A lets certain, eligible people apply for a waiver of bans for unlawful presence in the United States. This is different than a person leaving the United States under factors of inadmissibility to attend their consular interview.
Both Form I-601 and Form I-601A are requests for waivers because of inadmissibility to the United States. However, the two forms are extremely different and you must use the correct form when requesting to waive your grounds for ineligibility into the U.S.
Waiver I-601A is specifically for the purpose of waiving only the 3- or 10-year ban in order to keep families together. This specialized form was created to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the reasons for inadmissibility in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) previous waiver method. Previously, applicants had to go to an interview in their home country without a guarantee of waiver approval, which forced them to leave the U.S. This new method is meant to eliminate the threat of entrapment outside the United States.
Form I-601 is for those who are inadmissible under certain circumstances. Many people who use Form I-601 are K or V Visa applicants residing outside the United States, applicants for Adjustment of Status, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants.
With both forms, applicants need to show that their qualifying relative will go through extreme hardship if they were to be banned from the United States.
The biggest difference between the two forms is the reason for inadmissibility. Form I-601A is specifically designed for the ban while Form I-601 is for most other grounds of inadmissibility, including health reasons, criminal history or intent, poverty, lack of labor certification, and more.
You can file for a Form I-601A waiver if you are a:
You must also meet the following qualifications when filing for your waiver of inadmissibility:
You do not qualify for the I-601A waiver if you:
In order to qualify for the I-601A waiver, you must show that your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if you were to be removed from the United States. But what exactly qualifies as an extreme hardship that will meet the requirements for filing a waiver of inadmissibility? And what is a 601 waiver-qualifying relative?
You must prove that your family, specifically your spouse or parent, will suffer greatly from your departure, more so than what could qualify as normal hardships. A 601 waiver-qualifying relative is someone who is a spouse or parent who holds U.S. citizenship or who is a Lawful Permanent Resident. Extreme hardship can include any of the following:
It is important to include all information that you believe is pertinent to your case. An immigration attorney can help you both compile and present your case for eligibility for a provisional unlawful presence waiver.
If you are wondering how to get a 601 waiver approved, you need to show that you meet the 601 waiver requirements by providing the following material to USCIS:
The USCIS may issue an I-601 waiver request for evidence (RFE) under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(a)(9)(B). Asking your attorney for a waiver of inadmissibility sample and sample evidence may be helpful in your pursuit of your waiver application.
First and foremost, you must be in the United States when you apply for and submit your Form 601A unlawful presence waiver. Unlike many applications, the I-601A waiver is a standalone form, meaning that you submit only this form (and its supporting documents) to USCIS. No other applications can be filed during the time of filing Form I-601A. If you submit any other forms during the time of your Form I-601A submission, your waiver request will be denied.
You must follow the USCIS Form I-601A instructions when applying for your waiver. Your immigration attorney can help you fill out the waiver request and make sure that you meet all of the necessary requirements. You will also need to attend a biometrics appointment and you may be asked to attend an interview with USCIS. You can prepare for I-601A interview questions with an experienced attorney.
Remember that the unlawful presence waiver is for those who have qualifying family members that will suffer extreme hardship due to your absence from the U.S. If you are an I-601 qualifying-relative child, meaning your parent will suffer, you need to discuss this during your application and interview, if applicable.
Again, the I-601A waiver form is a specialized version of the waiver for those who are asking to waive a 3- or 10- year ban. If you are found inadmissible for other reasons, speak to your immigration attorney about filing Form I-601.
You will need to send your unlawful presence waiver form to the Chicago Lockbox facility. Your attorney can help you find where to file an I-601 waiver, as there are specific direct filing addresses for Form I-601.
The filing fee for Form I-601A is $630, plus an additional $85 biometrics fee.
Extreme hardship waiver approval rates depend on the specific circumstances of your inadmissibility. If your inadmissibility was for overstaying your visa and nothing more, your chances of having your ban waived are higher. But if there are factors present such as criminal history, immigration fraud, or other visa violations, the chances of approval for your Form I-601 or I-601A will decrease.
The latest I-601A processing time is from USCIS’s site and depends on where you need to file your unlawful presence waiver. The I-601A processing time can take between 17 to 23 months out of the Nebraska Service Center. If you submit to the Potomac Service Center, processing time can take between 26 to 33.5 months.
I-601 processing time can vary widely, so speak with your immigration lawyer about where you need to file your waiver application and what the expected processing times mean for your specific case.
If your 601A waiver is approved, you can then apply for a U.S. green card. This must be done through consular processing, meaning you must return to your country of origin and apply for your green card from your home country’s U.S. Embassy or consulate.
You will submit your approved Form I-601A waiver with your green card application. By showing your extreme hardship waiver approval, you are showing that you have been waived from the 3-or 10-year ban.
Remember, if your waiver is pending, you are not granted any protection from removal from the United States, nor does the waiver for illegal entry guarantee an immigration visa will be approved. You must still apply for a green card and go through lawful entry through U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The I-601 waiver is to show your previous ban has been waived and you can now lawfully enter the United States after consular processing.
If your 601A provisional waiver is denied, you are not allowed to file an administrative appeal. But there are steps you can take after your denial or before the final decision is made.
Yes, you may file a new Form I-601A. You will need to submit all required documents and filing fees.
Filing your Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver can be a complicated and difficult process. This waiver will determine whether or not you will remain banned from the United States, so the stakes are high. Working with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the form and knows how to gather the required evidence can benefit you greatly.
Our immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have been practicing immigration and nationality law for over 30 years and have over 70 years of combined experience. We have the knowledge and resources available to guide you through the process of applying for a waiver. If you have any questions or would like help with your application, we are here to help. Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today.View Similar Articles