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Los Angeles Provisional 601A Waiver Lawyer

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What Is the I-601A Waiver?

The I-601A waiver, also known as the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver,” is a waiver provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain immigrant visa applicants.

The I-601A waiver allows eligible individuals who are immediate relatives (spouses, children, or parents) of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) to apply for a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility while still in the United States after they have an approved immigrant visa petition (I-130 or I-360) and have paid the Department of State immigrant visa processing fee.

The “unlawful presence” ground of inadmissibility refers to periods individuals have spent in the United States without legal status. This can create a barrier to being granted legal status later on.

If an individual has been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than 180 days but less than a year, they may be barred from re-entry for three years. If they’ve been in the U.S. unlawfully for a year or more, they may be barred from re-entry for ten years.

The I-601A waiver is meant to shorten the time that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident family members are separated from their relatives while those relatives are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States, thereby reducing the hardship experienced by these families.

It’s important to note that the I-601A waiver is not a visa and does not change the individual’s immigration status in the U.S. It also does not provide any interim benefits such as employment authorization or protection from removal.

The provisional waiver application process could be complex. This guide provides generic information about the waiver and how it works to help make things easier. If you get stuck, remember you can still get help from an experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles.

Who Qualifies for the I-601A Provisional Waiver?

Before you apply for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, confirm that you meet these primary requirements;

  • You are physically present in the U.S.
  • You are at least 17 years old.
  • You have started the process of obtaining an immigrant visa. To meet this condition, any of the following must have occurred:
    • A family or employment-based immigrant petition has been approved in your favor, and you have paid the immigrant visa processing fee.
    • Your spouse or parent is the primary beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, and they have paid the visa processing fee.
    • You, your spouse, or your parent(s) have been selected by the Department of State (DOS) for a visa under the diversity visa program.
  • You believe that you are inadmissible to the U.S. because you have unlawfully spent between 180 days to a year or above one year in a single stay in the U.S.
  • Be able to demonstrate that refusal of admission to the U.S. would cause a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse (or parent) to suffer extreme hardship.

While these are the primary requirements, there are other conditions that you may need to fulfill to qualify for this waiver. These conditions sometimes vary with each applicant. You may need an immigration lawyer to determine the specific requirements for your case so you can begin the process on the right foot.

You may not qualify for this waiver if you’re in removal proceedings. But alternative routes could help you remain in the U.S. or gain subsequent entry legally. Get help from an immigration attorney to help you determine the next steps if this is your situation.

he I-601A Provisional Waiver Process Process

The application process for the I-601A Provisional Waiver, also known as the “stateside” waiver, requires careful completion of the required forms, payment of relevant fees, and submission of necessary documentation. Here’s a general outline of the process:

  1. Completion of Form I-601A: Obtain Form I-601A from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or office. This form is 12 pages long, and each must be filled out. Be sure to follow all instructions provided on the form carefully.
  2. Signature: Ensure you sign the form in the designated area. A missing or incorrect signature could lead to the rejection of your application.
  3. Submission: The completed and signed I-601A form should be submitted to the USCIS. Remember, this form cannot be submitted simultaneously with any other immigration waiver, petition, or request for benefits. The I-601A waiver is a standalone application, and an attempt to combine it with another process will result in the USCIS rejecting your application.

Key Points to Note:

  • Application Review: After submitting your application, the USCIS will review your form. Your application might be denied if any information is missing or there are errors. Therefore, it’s essential to double-check your form before submitting it.
  • Supporting Documentation: You may be required to submit additional documents to support your application, such as proof of your relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and evidence of extreme hardship.
  • Fees: There are filing fees associated with the I-601A Provisional Waiver application. Be sure to check the current fees on the USCIS website, as they are subject to change.
  • Interview: If your waiver application is approved, you must still attend an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Form I-601A Supporting Documents

You’ll need certain documents to prove the information you’ve filled out in your form. They include the following:

  • Your immigrant visa approval notice or evidence of your selection for the diversity visa program, depending on which is applicable
  • Your DOS visa immigrant visa fee receipt if you’re applying as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen/permanent resident or if your application is employment-based
  • Proof that establishes your relationship to your qualifying relative (if applicable)
  • Evidence that your inadmissibility would work extreme hardship on your immediate relatives (if applicable)
  • Evidence that your initial entry into the U.S. was lawful
  • Any evidence demonstrating why the USCIS officers should exercise their discretion in your favor and you should be waived from inadmissibility.

Once you have all the necessary documents, mail them along with the completed Form I-601A to the USCIS Chicago lockbox facility after paying the filing fee.

What Happens After Submitting Form I-601A?

Once the USCIS receives your form, you’ll receive a notice for a biometric appointment at an Application Support Center (ASC). You must attend this appointment; otherwise, your application may be canceled.

The USCIS may also request further information or invite you for a physical interview. Therefore you need to remain in the country until the process is complete.

Once they have the relevant details, the USCIS will consider your application and notify you of their decision in writing.

Approval of the Waiver

If the USCIS approves the waiver, you must return to your country to continue applying for your immigrant visa. The waiver will not take effect otherwise.

This approval does not guarantee that your immigrant visa application will succeed; it merely grants you the opportunity to apply for a visa. Therefore you need to comply with the requirements for that procedure as well.

Also, the approval of the waiver does not grant you lawful immigration status or benefits. So, reentering the U.S. before receiving an immigrant visa will nullify the waiver.

Denial of the Waiver

You cannot file an appeal or motion to reconsider if your application is denied. However, you may file a new Form I-601A. You can also return to your country to continue the immigrant visa application process and apply for an I-601 waiver.

Is the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver I-601A Revocable?

Provisional unlawful presence waivers can be revoked for several reasons, including the following:

  • The DOS ends the immigrant visa application process
  • The USCIS revokes the approved immigrant visa petition, which is the foundation for your immigrant visa
  • The consular officer finds that you are ineligible for the immigrant visa for any reason during your visa interview
  • You reenter or attempt to reenter the U.S. illegally.

If your waiver is revoked, you may file a new I-601A application. You could also file the general waiver application (Form-I-601) after applying for an immigrant visa and attending your immigrant visa interview abroad. The USCIS is free to initiate removal proceedings against you at this point; therefore, you need to act fast not to jeopardize your chances of success any further.

Get Help From an Immigration Lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney

It could be challenging to navigate the I-601A waiver application process successfully because of the numerous requirements and conditions.

With our extensive immigration law knowledge and experience, we can help make the process easier since we are already familiar with the application requirements.

Do not hesitate to contact us with concerns about the I-601A or any other waiver or immigration process. Let us help you identify and explore working solutions for your immigration issues. 

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Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.