Now that the new Provisional Waivers for Unlawful Presence are in place, I am getting many phone calls from people who are inquiring as to whether they qualify for the waiver. There are many misconceptions about this from person-to-person communication and on the Internet, so I want to use this blog post to again define the qualifications for I-601A applicants.
1. The I-601A only waives the Unlawful Presence ground of inadmissibility. If you have any other factors that make you inadmissible (multiple undocumented entries into the United States, criminal issues, previous removals) then you cannot use the I-601A. Absolutely seek the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney if you have any doubts about this.
2. You must be the beneficiary of an approved immediate relative petition. That means you must have a United States Citizen Spouse, Child over 21, or Parent (if you are under 21) who can petition for you.
3. You must be able to prove extreme hardship to a United States Citizen spouse or parent. This person is known as the qualifying relative. The qualifying relative does not have to be the person who filed the immediate relative petition on your behalf. The qualifying relative is the USC spouse or parent would experience extreme hardship if you were refused admission to the United States. Children are not qualifying relatives.
4. Other requirements are that you are now physically present in the United States, you are at least 17 years old, and you have an immigrant visa case pending with the Department of State.
Navigating the I-601A Provisional waiver process is complicated and tricky. Please consult with an experienced immigration attorney before you attempt to file the waiver on your own. The cost of an attorney processing your waiver application may seem expensive; however the value you will receive in having the application prepared by an expert is extremely high. If you attempt to file on your own and are denied there is no appeal and you will have to file your waiver abroad. Moreover; you could be putting yourself in peril with the USCIS if you have negative factors that you did not take into consideration. Kalita Law Group P.C is highly experienced in I-601 waiver preparation, and has been successful in winning appeals of denied I-601 waivers (filed abroad). Be sure to seek qualified counsel before attempting your own filing.