Form I-601A waiver grants provisional immigrant status to someone who is unlawfully present in the United States. The I-601A waiver is different from the I-601 waiver. The former is applicable only when you are unlawfully and physically present in the United States. In other words, it’s a waiver for illegal presence in the United States.
In this guide, we’ll have a look at the different criteria you must meet to be eligible for the form I-601A waiver. We’ll also look at the different hindrances in this legal process. Finally, we’ll discuss the importance of working with the right immigration lawyer to successfully get an I-601A waiver.
What is an I-601A waiver?
An I-601A waiver grants an illegal US resident the provision to continue processing their immigration.
The I-601A waiver is available to those who:
- Are illegal residents of the US
- Are the spouse or child of a US citizen
- Can demonstrate that their US citizen spouse or child would face extreme hardship if they were to be deported
It’s a long and complicated process, and there’s no certainty that you’ll be granted the waiver. If you’re considering applying for an I-601A waiver, you should speak to an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the process.
Anyone statutorily qualified for an immigrant visa and a waiver of the requirement that they have been present in the country illegally was included in the I-601A waiver’s expansion in 2016.
Now, let’s have a look at the conditions you must meet to be eligible for an I-601A waiver.
Eligibility conditions for I-601A Provisional Waiver
You must meet the following conditions for an I-601A waiver:
- You must be at least 17 years old
- You must give biometric information and be personally present in the United States
- You must have an open case immigrant visa petition case for which you have already paid
- The DoS has chosen you to be a part of the Diversity Visa Program under section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for the financial year for which you applied
- You will leave the country to obtain an immigrant visa
- You fulfill the criteria for a waiver under Immigration and National Act section 212(a)(9)(B)(v)
- You can show that your rejection to enter the United States would cause great suffering to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident partner or guardian
- You are inadmissible only if you have been unlawfully present in the United States for over 180 days but less than one year in a single stay
- Alternatively, if you have been unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more in a continuous stay
These are the basic provisions you must meet to be eligible for an I-601A waiver. However, that’s not all. There are certain grounds under which you automatically disqualify for an I-601A waiver. Let’s learn more about them.
Grounds that disqualify you for an I-601A Provisional Waiver
The following grounds disqualify you from getting an I-601A waiver:
- You are under the age of seventeen
- You do not have a pending case with the US Department of State for an accepted immigrant visa request for which the payments have already been paid
- You do not have an open complaint with the US Department of State concerning the Diversity Visa program under section 203. (c)
- Other than illegal entry, you are liable to one or more grounds of inadmissibility.
- You have a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS that is pending
- You are engaged in removal proceedings (unless it has been administratively closed)
- Under any provision of law, you are susceptible to an administratively final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion
As you can see, getting an I-601A waiver is more difficult than it seems. The concerned authorities take every possible step to ensure that only the right candidates get the waiver. How will you prove that you’re the right candidate? With the help of a competent immigration lawyer.
Most specialized immigration lawyers have years of experience under their belt. They know the ins and outs of the legal process and can help you make the right decision.
One of the most difficult things to prove in the waiver process is the hardship that your qualifying family member would suffer due to your physical absence. Let’s learn more about it.
How to prove the hardship of qualifying family members?
To be granted an I-601A waiver, you must prove that your family member (living in the US) will suffer great hardship due to your absence. In most cases, USCIS officers will consider the following claims to decide whether an individual case meets the definition of extreme hardship:
Conditions in the foreign country that would impact the applicant’s or qualifying relative’s health
- Conditions in the foreign country that would impact the applicant’s or qualifying relative’s safety (continuous or specific treatment needs for a physical or mental illness)
- Economic impact on the applicant or qualifying relative (potential employability, loss as a result of the sale of a property, business, or the closure of a skilled practice)
- The financial impact on the applicant or qualifying relative.
- Educational opportunities for the applicant or qualifying relative. For example, loss of the chance to pursue higher education, a reduction in the quality or range of available educational options, and disruption of an ongoing program.
- Special factors regarding the applicant or qualifying relative (Ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural barriers. Real concerns about being persecuted, hurt, or physically harmed. Stigma or social exclusion. Lack of access to social institutions.)
Why you should work with an immigration lawyer for an I-601A waiver
Working with an experienced and competent immigration lawyer gives you the best probability of getting the waiver.
- A waiver is discretionary. The immigration lawyer will present the strongest case to demonstrate why you qualify for the waiver.
- The immigration lawyer will know the law and keep up to date with any changes.
- The immigration lawyer will be able to anticipate any problems that may arise during the application process.
- The immigration lawyer will be able to effectively communicate with the USCIS.
Get in touch with the immigration lawyers at Yemi Getachew Immigration Law for any assistance regarding the form I-601A waiver.