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Provisional I-601A Waiver in Long Beach



Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses or the sons or daughters of U.S. citizens can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals who need only a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver while in the United States. They find out whether it has been granted before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.  This eliminates most of the severe stress that used to be involved in the process.

The new process will most definitely shorten the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.  Most of our clients are able to obtain their immigrant visas and return to the United States within a week.

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States must travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome the unlawful presence bars under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act before they can return to the United States. Under the existing waiver process, which remains in effect for those ineligible for the Provisional Waiver program, immediate relatives cannot apply for a waiver until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad, and a Department of State (DOS) consular officer has determined that they are inadmissible to the United States.

Relatives of U.S. citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents who are ineligible for the new provisional unlawful presence waiver can still choose to apply for a waiver using the existing process by filing a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, after a DOS consular officer has determined that he or she is inadmissible to the United States.  For those who were previously deported or removed from the United States you would need to file an I-212 Application for Permission to Return After Deportation.  Typically, you might need to file both the I-601 if you were unlawfully present or inadmissible for another reason, as well as an I-212 to ask for permission to return after being deported.

What You Need to Know

The new provisional unlawful presence waiver process does not change the immigrant visa process. Even if your provisional unlawful presence waiver is approved, you are still required to depart the United States for your immigrant visa interview with a U.S. consular officer abroad.

If a provisional unlawful presence waiver is approved, it will only take effect after:

You depart the United States and appear for your immigrant visa interview, and

A DOS consular officer determines that you are otherwise admissible to the United States and eligible to receive an immigrant visa.  NOTE:  Do not depart until the National Visa Center (NVC) notifies you of your scheduled immigrant visa interview date and time at the designated U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

DOS may cancel your immigrant visa application process if you fail to appear at your interview.

If you are in removal proceedings, you are ineligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver unless, at the time you file your Form I-601A, your proceedings are administratively closed and have not been put back on the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) calendar to continue your removal proceedings.

While USCIS does not envision placing I-601A applicants in removal proceedings, USCIS will follow current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS Notice to Appear (NTA) guidance governing initiation of removal proceedings. For more information on USCIS NTA priorities, see USCIS Policy Memorandum, Revised Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Removable Aliens (Nov. 7, 2011).

Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver you must fulfill ALL of the following conditions:

  1. Be 17 years of age or older.
  2. Be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (not a preference category immigrant who has a visa available). An immediate relative is an individual who is the spouse, parent, or son or daughter of a U.S. citizen.
  3. Have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
  4. Have a pending immigrant visa case with DOS for the approved immediate relative petition and have paid the DOS immigrant visa processing fee.
  5. Be able to demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent.  You must show that your qualifying relative (your spouse or parent) will suffer extreme hardship if you are not approved for an immigrant visa (Permanent Resident status). The details of what this means and how to prove it are explained on the waivers page of this website.  It is also explained in the Form I-601A Instructions.
  6. Be physically present in the United States to file your application for a provisional unlawful presence waiver and provide biometrics.
  7. Not have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview by DOS before January 3, 2013.
  8. Meet all other requirements for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, as detailed in 8 CFR 212.7(e) and the Form I-601A and its instructions

You are not eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if any of the following conditions apply to you:


-You are subject to one or more grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence.  This means if you have committed a crime that makes you inadmissible, or you were charged with misrepresentation in attempting to obtain a visa or attempting to enter the United States, or if you were previously deported and re-entered the US.  You must discuss your entire history with an immigration attorney to be sure that you are eligible for this program.

Instead, you may file a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, from outside the United States after you have been interviewed for your immigrant visa, and the consular officer has found that you are inadmissible for a ground that may be waived.

-You are in removal proceedings that have not been administratively closed.

-At the time of filing, you are in removal proceedings that have been administratively closed but have been placed back on the EOIR calendar to continue your removal proceedings.

-You do not meet one or more of the requirements, as outlined in the Form I-601A and its instructions.


What will an attorney do for you?


The attorney's job in preparing the waiver includes the following:


Provide you with instructions on how to write your hardship letter;


Provide you with a list of documents and photos needed;

Conduct research into the conditions in the region of the home country of immigrant,  including newspaper articles, U.S. government reports, and other materials to support the claim of hardship;

Determine whether a statement from psychologist or doctors, or other professionals would be beneficial who have treated the U.S. qualifying relatives for conditions relevant to the required showing of hardship;

Assist with guidance for preparation of affidavits from friends, relatives, teachers, employers, and others who can attest to facts relevant to the waiver request;

Prepare a brief- a detailed summary of what the evidence shows and why applicnt qualifies under relevant law for a waiver of inadmissibility.

Research any additional factors that might be relevant.



This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

The Law Office of Janis Peterson-Lord is located in Long Beach, CA and serves clients in and around Long Beach, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Harbor City, Wilmington, Cerritos, Bellflower, San Pedro, Carson, Paramount, Compton, Norwalk, Woodland Hills, Torrance, Lynwood, Santa Fe Springs, South Gate, Gardena, Bell, Huntington Park, Pico Rivera, Maywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Orange County.


Immigration Lawyer Long Beach

1383 Redondo Avenue Suite Two.
Long Beach, CA 90804
(562) 494-1010