If you are an illegal immigrant or have family members that are illegal immigrants and want to obtain a legal immigration visa, you’re going to have to fill out an I-601A waiver. This waiver is applicable to you if you have been deported to your home country and banned from returning to the U.S. for a 3 to 10 year period.
It is also applicable if you have a designation of unlawful presence in the U.S. that could prevent you from obtaining a permanent resident card (Green Card) status if you wish to apply in the future. If you are able to successfully obtain an I-601A Waiver, this can help you avoid the 3 to 10-year bar and avoid denial for your Green Card status in the future.
The I-601A Waiver
The I-601A Waiver is the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver that lessens the period of time an undocumented alien is separated from their family in their attempt to gain a green card. This waiver is relatively recent as it was only introduced in March of 2013. The I-601A Waiver is similar to the I-601 Hardship Waiver; however, they have one very different qualification to apply. For the I-601 Waiver, you must have fully left the United States. The I-601A Waiver allows applicants to complete it while they are still residing in the U.S. For many people this makes the I-601A Waiver more advantageous because it allows them to begin the immigration process in only a temporary separation from their family.
The 3 and 10 Year Bar
As a consequence for being an undocumented alien unlawfully living in the U.S., you may receive a ban on re-entering the United States for a period of 3 to 10 years. The duration of the period is determined by how long you spent in the U.S. If you have resided in the U.S. for one year, you may be subjected to a 3-year waiting period before you are eligible to apply for re-admission. If you have been living in the U.S. for longer than a year, you may be subjected to a 10-year waiting period. This ban can keep you separated from your family and prevent you from traveling back to your home country to apply for a green card.
Eligibility and Requirements
To apply for an I-601A Waiver you must be 17 years of age or older, have not previously interviewed for an immigrant visa, and must have an approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. To be eligible to apply for the I-601 Waiver you must have a relative who qualifies as someone who would endure extreme hardship if you were not granted the waiver, be able to show that you deserve discretionary approval of the waiver, and do not have any other admissibility concerns that would bar you from immigrant visa eligibility.
Only parents and spouses who are U.S. citizens can be approved to a qualifying relative for extreme hardship. Extreme hardship is legally defined as hardship that is more severe than normal hardship that a qualifying relative would endure due to an extended separation from you. To prove extreme hardship, you must be able to show proof beyond simple financial and emotional hardship to include things like evidence of significant health concerns or the distressing impact a child may suffer.
To begin the process of pursuing an I-601A Waiver, you should have a consultation with an immigration attorney. While the process of filling out the application is simple, you just do it on USCIS’s website, collecting all of the extensive documentation needed to prove your eligibility can be difficult. Your attorney will be able to inform you whether you are eligible for the waiver or not. They will provide you with the most up-to-date information about immigration law and assist you in constructing a case based on factual data. The I-601A Waiver is a new development in immigration law, which makes it even more essential that you recruit their expert help and understanding of the application process.
Your immigration attorney will help you present a sympathetic case and inform you of the extensive documentation you’ll need to prove that your U.S. citizen would suffer “extreme hardship” in your absence. This part of the process can weeks to months depending on how easily you are able to prove your qualifications for extreme hardship.
Once you have officially applied, you can expect to hear approval for your provisional unlawful presence waiver 4 to 6 months after submission. Following this, an immigrant visa interview will be scheduled 2 to 3 months later. Your immigration lawyer can help you prepare for all of the questions they may ask you. After the interview, you will be informed whether you have been accepted or not. If you have received the I-601A waiver then you can pursue a conditional green card.