Provisional Waivers – How Form I-601a Impacts Immigration

If you’ve gone through the visa or Green Card application process before, you know that it can be a lengthy one. To complicate things further, if you have been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than 180 days, you will be expected to leave the country for the duration of your Green Card application process. As you may know, that process can take months, which means months of time you’ll be separated from your loved ones. Fortunately, there is a way to help: a provisional waiver.


Form I-601A is the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Essentially, this provisional waiver allows unlawful immigrants to remain in the U.S. with their loved ones while applying for a Green Card or visa. Traditionally, those who have lived in the U.S. unlawfully have to leave the country for the Green Card interview. Depending on how long that person was in the U.S. unlawfully, they may be barred from reentering the country for three years or ten years because they were deemed ‘inadmissible’ after living in the U.S. unlawfully. The provisional waiver helps visa and Green Card applicants stay in the country longer and helps assure you won’t be trapped outside the U.S. when you leave the country for your consular interview.


In order to apply for the provisional waiver, the applicant will need to be in the U.S. when applying because they’ll need to provide biometrics. In addition, applicants have to be at least 17 years old, show that leaving their U.S. citizen immediate family will create extreme hardship, and be able to demonstrate that the only reason they might be denied a Green Card is because of unlawful presence.


Thanks to expansions on the original rule, anyone who is “statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa” is eligible to apply for the provisional waiver, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. This means anyone who has been in the U.S. unlawfully and is applying for a visa or Green Card is generally eligible. This includes immediate family members of a U.S. citizen; those who entered the country on a fiance visa but haven’t married yet; and those who entered the U.S. as a ship or plane crew member.


One big concern with filing for a provisional waiver is whether an applicant’s information will be provided to Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) and lead to deportation. Generally, this shouldn’t be a concern unless the applicant has a criminal record, certain medical concerns, or fraud violations.


Submit the required information with form I-601A. Afterward, you will still need to apply for the appropriate visa or Green Card. You will still need to leave the country for your consulate interview, but the provisional waiver will help ensure you won’t be blocked from returning for years.

If you have questions about provisional waivers or any other part of the immigration process, it’s best to work with an immigration attorney. An experienced immigration lawyer can help guide you through each step based on your specific situation. Want to learn more? Connect with the Law Office of Diron Rutty, LLC in the Bronx to get started.

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