The I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is a good mechanism for certain qualifying immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to gain Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status.

Caroline Ostrom, Minneapolis immigration attorney, assists clients in the Twin Cities and nationwide to obtain I-601A Waivers when necessary and eligible. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice about eligibility for an I-601A Waiver or the application process.

The Unlawful Presence Ground of Inadmissibility

If you entered the U.S. initially without being inspected by an immigration officer, and you have remained in the U.S. for more than 6 months since your 18th birthday, you are likely subject to the 3 year or 10-year bar to admissibility to the U.S., under INA Section 212 (a)(9)(B). You are inadmissible for 3 years if you have overstayed for 6 months but less than 1 year. You are inadmissible for 10 years if you have overstayed for a year or more.

Because you entered the U.S. without being inspected by an immigration officer, you are required under current laws and regulations to depart the U.S. and come back in after an interview at the relevant U.S. Consulate abroad, to obtain legal status in the U.S., based on an approved I-130 Petition. To legally come back into the U.S, however, you need to successfully obtain a waiver of the 3 year or 10-year bar to re-entry.

The I-601A Waiver for Unlawful Presence

The I-601A Waiver for Unlawful Presence is available for certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Under I-601A, it is possible to apply for and obtain a decision on the Waiver for unlawful presence while in the U.S., rather than having to wait in your home country for a decision on the Waiver, which can take well over a year or more. One you have the approved waiver in hand, you then depart the U.S. for the consular interview.

To qualify for the I-601A Waiver, you must demonstrate the following:

  • That you are the immediate relative beneficiary of an approved I-130 by your U.S. citizen relative. An immediate relative is an individual who is the spouse, child (unmarried and under 21), or parent of a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be at least 17 years old.
  • You must have already paid the Department of State immigrant visa processing fee (IV Fee) for the case associated with the approved immigrant visa petition.
  • You must not be inadmissible to the U.S. for any other reason besides the unlawful presence.
  • You must demonstrate that to require you to stay outside the U.S. for 3 or 10 years, whichever is applicable, would be an extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S. citizen relative.
  • The Qualifying Relative for the I-601A Waiver is your U.S. citizen spouse or U.S citizen parent. Take note: this list is different and shorter than the list of relatives who can make the initial qualifying I-130 Petition.
  • Extreme Hardship: You must demonstrate how in your particular case your qualifying U.S. citizen relative would suffer something more than the usual hardship experienced by living apart for 3 or 10 years, and also, that the hardship your qualifying family member would face if he or she moved to your home country during that time would also be extreme. Documentation for a successful I-601A Waiver typically includes financial, medical, educational, and country-specific information to document the extreme hardship to be experienced by the qualifying U.S. citizen relative.

If you do not qualify for the I-601A Waiver, because you have more than the unlawful presence basis for inadmissibility, you may be eligible to apply for the standard I-601 Waiver from outside the U.S., to address unlawful presence, as well as other grounds of inadmissibility, provided that you qualify for such relief.

How Our Minneapolis Immigration Lawyer Can Help

We assess your case to determine if you are likely to be a successful candidate for the I-601A Waiver. This determination is generally made as part of an initial consultation, to determine whether it is advisable to file an I-130 Petition and your inadmissibility to the U.S. in general. If you are eligible for the Waiver, we provide support to thoroughly document the extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen qualifying relative. We also address questions relating to the process and coordinate the timing of the filings with USCIS and the Department of State.

Based in Minneapolis, our immigration team works with families in the Twin Cities and nationwide on I-601A Waivers. We welcome you to contact Ostrom Law Office for assistance with your immigration matter.