I-601A

There are many reasons why an immigrant is considered inadmissible to the U.S. One of those reasons is illegal presence in the country. An immigrant is considered to be unlawfully present if they have overstayed their valid visa, arrived without inspection, or violated a temporary visa status.

Although illegal presence can be a bar to admission into the U.S., help is available to overcome this issue. By filing for an I-601A waiver, also known as a provisional waiver, you may be able to continue processing your immigration case even if you were illegally present in the country.

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    I-601a

    What is an I-601A waiver?

    Normally, an applicant over the age of 18 who has overstayed in the U.S. for 180 days or more, but less than 365 days, is barred from returning to the U.S. for three years. An applicant who has overstayed for more than a year can be barred for ten years. In some cases, such as trying to reenter the U.S. after having accrued more than one year of unlawful presence, the bar may even be permanent.

    Unlawful presence can have lengthy and serious consequences — it can result in being barred from returning to the U.S. during your consular interview. However, an I-601A form may allow you to apply for a waiver of the unlawful presence bar before needing to leave the U.S.

    This process allows an applicant to apply for a provisional waiver before they leave the U.S. for their consular interview abroad. The reason behind the waiver process is to promote reunification of family members, as well as to shorten the time that families must be separated while their relatives are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.

    I-601 vs. I-601A: What is the difference between these two waivers?

    As we noted above, an I-601A waiver can be used only for one ground of inadmissibility: unlawful presence. However, there are many other reasons that a Green Card applicant can be found inadmissible — and in those cases, a regular I-601 waiver must be used.

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    This process allows an applicant to apply for a provisional waiver before they leave the U.S. for their consular interview abroad. The reason behind the waiver process is to promote reunification of family members, as well as to shorten the time that families must be separated while their relatives are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.

    I-601 vs. I-601A: What is the difference between these two waivers?

    As we noted above, an I-601A waiver can be used only for one ground of inadmissibility: unlawful presence. However, there are many other reasons that a Green Card applicant can be found inadmissible — and in those cases, a regular I-601 waiver must be used.

    For example, the I-601 waiver is used in the following types of inadmissibility cases:

    • Inadmissibility due to health reasons, such as active tuberculosis, other communicable diseases, or substance abuse
    • Inadmissibility due to criminal reasons, such as crimes involving moral turpitude, drug trafficking, or human trafficking
    • Inadmissibility due to national security reasons
    • Inadmissibility due to becoming a public charge
    • Inadmissibility due to fraud or misrepresentation

    USCIS I-601A waivers: Who qualifies, and under what conditions?

    In order to qualify for an I-601A waiver, a person must be:

    • At least 17 years old
    • Physically present in the U.S. to file the form I-601A application and provide biometrics
    • Be in the process of obtaining their immigrant visa, and have a case pending
    • Not have any additional grounds for inadmissibility
    • Demonstrate that refusal of their admission will cause extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative
    • Not in removal proceedings that are pending or haven’t been administratively closed
    • Not have a final order of removal, exclusion, or deportation

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