Want to learn more about an I-601a hardship waiver?

We have many clients who marry US citizens but they came into the country without permission. Every case is different, but in many cases an I-601a waiver will be necessary.

Here are three things you should know.

I-601a Form

Who Qualifies for an I-601a Waiver?

Certain immigrant visa applicants who are relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may use this application to request a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act section 212 (a)(9)(B), before departing the United States to appear at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an immigrant visa interview.

What is Required for I-601a Approval?

The following conditions are required to be approved for an I-601a waiver for having unlawful presence in the US:

  • Be physically present in the United States to file your application and provide biometrics.
  • Be 17 years of age or older.
  • Be in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa  and have an immigrant visa case pending with Department of State (DOS) because you:
    • Are the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative; an approved Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker; or an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant who has paid the immigrant visa processing fee;
    • Have been selected by DOS to participate in the Diversity Visa (DV) Program (that is, you are a DV Program selectee);
    • Are the spouse or child of a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition who has paid the immigrant visa processing fee to DOS; or
    • Are the spouse or child of a DV Program selectee (that is, you are a DV Program derivative)
  • Be able to demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse or parent.
  • Believe you are or will be inadmissible only because of a period of unlawful presence in the United States that was:
    • More than 180 days, but less than 1 year, during a single stay (INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I)); or
    • 1 year or more during a single stay (INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II)).
  • Meet all other requirements for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, as detailed in 8 CFR 212.7(e) and the Form I-601A and its instructions.

Showing extreme hardship is difficult to prove under USCIS requirements. It is important to hire a skilled immigration lawyer in Maryland when completing your I-601a form.

What Happens if Your I-601a is Granted?

The provisional waiver process does not change the immigrant visa process. Even if your provisional unlawful presence waiver is approved, you are still required to depart the United States to process your immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad.

The approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver does not make you eligible for adjustment of status in the United States. If USCIS approves your provisional unlawful presence waiver, it will only take effect after:
1. You depart the United States and appear for your immigrant visa interview; and
2. A Department of State consular officer determines that you are otherwise admissible to the United States and eligible to receive an immigrant visa.

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Both of our attorneys, Mirriam Z. Seddiq and Justin Eisele, are experienced in immigration law.

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