The 601a Waiver is important since it makes it possible for inadmissible immigrants to experience family unity. The old waiver application method came with certain delays and risks that this process doesn’t have. People who are immigrating on the basis of their relationship with US citizens or permanent residents may apply for a waiver. If approved for the waiver, they are a granted reprieve from either a three- or ten-year bar for unlawful presence before they leave the US for their consular interview.

The outcome is that even if the USCIS denies the provisional waiver, the said relatives won’t be trapped outside the US. This form is different from the I-601 waiver, which we will also be covering below.

What is considered grounds of inadmissibility?

Before we discuss its grounds, let us define what inadmissibility means in the context of the US immigration law. It refers to a barrier that stops an immigrant from receiving a visa or green card. The ground for it in the case of the waiver 601a is unlawful presence.

Unlawful presence, in its turn, refers to a period when that immigrant leaves the United States, but they do so without permission or informing the authorities. When they are gone for a duration between 180-364 days, they cannot enter the country for three years. The bar is higher, i.e., for ten years, if they were gone for an aggregate period longer than a year.

Before the waiver was introduced, people couldn’t leave the country to attend their consular interview. Thus, it was difficult for them to qualify for adjustment to permanent resident status. If they did, they would be barred for re-entry.

We’d like to stress that this waiver is only useful if the applicant is denied a green card on the basis of unlawful presence. It doesn’t work for any other grounds.

The Difference between I-601a and I-601

Also known as the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, the Form I-601 allows for multiple grounds for inadmissibility, such as health or criminal issues, immigration fraud, etc. It is also filed by an applicant who isn’t within the US.

The Form I-601A, or Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, is filed from within the country. The only grounds for receiving it include a 3-year or 10-year bar for unlawful presence. This process was newly developed, so that a lawful permanent resident won’t have to remain apart from their family members until the latter receive their immigrant visas.

Form I-601a Eligibility requirements

Only applicants who meet the following conditions may apply and receive a provisional unlawful presence waiver:

  • They should be within the United States because they’ll need to file their application and provide biometrics personally
  • The applicant cannot be younger than 17 years
  • Evidence their immigrant visa is pending, such as:
    • Approved forms either I-130 or I-360
    • DV Program selection (or their spouse or parent’s selection)
    • Of being married or a parent to an individual with an approved immigrant visa petition
  • The applicant can demonstrate that if they don’t get the waiver, a denial will mean extreme hardship for a parent or spouse who are a legal US citizen
  • Proof that their unlawful presence is the only reason for this inadmissibility

I-601a Application process

The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver form instructs the applicants to submit it only after completion. The process starts when you are the principal beneficiary of the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative after its approval. To ensure that your form isn’t rejected, attach the following:

  • The visa petition approval notice
  • Proof of your admission or parole
  • Evidence of the case of extreme hardship your family may face
  • Proof that the USCIS should exercise favorable discretion in your case

The form I-601A instructs the applicants to submit it only after completion. Mail the completed form, its fee, and all the required documents to the USCIS Lockbox in Chicago. Then wait for the appointment notice, which will come after the 601a Waiver Processing Time ends. On receiving it, go to the Application Support Center (ASC) and provide your biometrics to them.

What happens if my application is denied?

In this situation, you won’t be able to employ the appeals process and obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver. Neither will the USCIS reconsider and reopen your case.

However, a denial doesn’t mean that you cannot apply for a provisional waiver again. People whose immigrant visa applications are still pending may apply for a new one. The fee must be paid again and include any new information that you have to support your request.

Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!

The absence of an appeals process for the USCIS Provisional Waiver makes it crucial that you ensure you aren’t missing any important details before you submit your application for the waiver. Therefore, we’d recommend that you let the immigration lawyer, Eric Price, handle your case. Get in touch with his legal team right away!

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