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Expanded Immigration I-601A Provisional Waivers Proposed by DHS

The Department of Homeland Security @DHSGOV has proposed a rule to expand the use of Provisional Waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on unlawful presence of immigration applicants seeking visas.

Currently, I-601A Provisional Waivers are used after a US citizen files an Immigrant Visa petition for a relative.  If the petition is approved, the applicant is not granted lawful status until they seek to adjust their status to that of a legal permanent resident (LPR).  For those applicants who are present here without lawful status, that is those who entered without inspection or who are not in lawful immigration status, adjustment of status usually requires a departure from the United States back to their home country to seek an immigrant visa from a US Embassy or Consulate.

If the applicant had been unlawfully present in the US for more than 180 days but less than one year, there is normally a 3 year ban for admissibility.  If the applicant had been unlawfully present in the US for more than 1 year, then the ban is extended to 10 years.

To avoid this ban, the immigrant visa application at the US Embassy or Consulate would require an application for a waiver of this result on form I-601. If approved, the I-601 waives the ban.  This requires the applicant to be in their home country during the processing for the request.  The I-601A application does not require the applicant to return to their home country during the waiver application process provided that the applicant can show "extreme hardship" to a US citizen parent, spouse or child under 21.  Once the I-601A is approved, the applicant returns to their home country to finish their processing (normally a few week process) and is then eligible to return to the US without the fear of the 3 or 10 year ban.

One of the changes proposed by @DHSGOV would expand those who could apply for an I-601A waiver to LPR spouses and parents.  This would increase the number of individuals who may be able to take advantage of this program and promote the family unity and avoid many financial and emotional hardships.

To review your matter and commence an application for an I-601A waiver, please contact our offices.

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