On January 3, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation allowing immediate family members of U.S. citizens who entered the U.S. without inspection, or are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S. due to unlawful presence, to apply for an I-601A waiver in the United States. Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their green card appointments in their countries of origin.
The aim of this new program, which became effective on March 4, 2013, is to avoid having spouses and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens be separated from their families for months or even years while their waivers are pending.
Now, these family members will obtain their waivers before departing the U.S., will be interviewed abroad, and will then return to their families in the U.S. within just a few days or weeks.
I-601A Waiver is divided into the following topics:
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- Green Cards Through Marriage
- Green Cards Through Relatives
- Adjustment of Status
- Unlawful Presence Bars and Waivers
Who is Eligible for File an I-601A waiver?
You may be eligible to file an I-601A waiver if you:
- Are physically present in the United States;
- Are at least 17 years of age at the time of filing;
- 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, and have paid the immigrant visa processing fee to DOS, and you are currently in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa;
- Have been selected by DOS to participate in the Diversity Visa (DV) Program (that is, you are a DV Program selectee) and are currently in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa; or
- Are the spouse or child of a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition and have paid theimmigrant visa processing fee to DOS, or you are the spouse or child of a DV Program selectee (that is, you are a DV Program derivative), and you are currently in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa; and
NOTE: The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) permits certain beneficiaries of immigrant visa petitions to retain classification as a child even if they have reached 21 years of age. Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/child-status- protection-act/child-status-protection-act-cspa for more information.
General Information – I-601A Waiver
- Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers (USCIS)
- Regulations.gov Resources on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers
- State Department Cable: Supplemental Guidance for Processing I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers (8-13-13)
- Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives (DHS Regulation) (1-03-13)
- Immediate Relative to a U.S. Citizen?
Videos – Provisional Waivers
- Unlawful Presence Bars and Waivers Unlawful presence can complicate your return to the U.S., and applies to persons who: (1) entered the U.S. without inspection; (2) overstayed their visa; or (3) violated their temporary visa status if the violation was officially cited by the government.
- I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers The new Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A) allows eligible immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for a waiver while in the U.S. before going to their home countries for their green card interviews.
Articles and Reports – I-601A Waiver
- Program Brightens Future of Utahns Living in the Shadows (1-3-13)
- USCIS Denying Many I-601A Provisional Waiver Requests Because of Possible Other Grounds of Inadmissibility (7-02-13)
- USCIS Meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (10-23-13)
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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