The Provisional Waiver Program allows certain immigrant visa applicants to apply for the provisional unlawful presence waiver while present in the United States. The Provisional Waiver Program continues to impact thousands of families in significant and meaningful ways by reducing family separation, uncertainty, and fear I-601 families faced while going through the traditional I-601 Waiver process. Might you too qualify for the I-601A Waiver?
What are the basic requirements for the I-601A Provisional Waiver (PW)?
1. PW applies only to those individuals who are at least 17 years of age and reside in the United States.
2. PW applies only to those individuals whose only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence.
3. PW applies only to those individuals with approved I-130 Immigrant Relative or I-360 Petitions.
4. PW applies only to spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives).
5. PW requires a showing of extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse or parent. Permanent Resident spouses or parents are not qualifying relatives for the I-601A Provisional Waiver (but are for the traditional I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver).
6. PW requires that the applicant is in the United States to attend the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment.
"Reason to Believe" I-601A denials based on misrepresentation/fraud, suspicion of criminal background, suspicion of "smuggling" of a family member, etc.
USCIS may deny an I-601A waiver application if it suspects that an applicant might be found inadmissible (and therefore the I-601A would be revoked and an I-601 would be required) during the consular interview for misrepresentation/fraud, crime, "smuggling" of a family member, or other ground of inadmissibility enumerated in the Immigration and Nationality Act. It is thus particularly important to have your immigration case assessed so that you are reasonably certain that the I-601A waiver route is the right one for you.
Some misconceptions about the PW program: must I still leave the United States to finish processing my case?
YES! The PW program allows applicants to file the I-601A PW in the United States, but each person is required to return to his or her home country to finish the processing of their immigrant visa. Each person will also be required to attend a medical exam and a consular visa interview before an immigrant visa can be approved.
Is the Provisional Waiver a sure thing?
No. Keep in mind that the Provisional Waiver only waives prior unlawful presence. Thus, if the consular officer determines that the applicant may be subject to other inadmissibility grounds - misrepresentation, old deportation orders, suspicion of drug use or gang membership, certain false claims to US citizenship, or crimes - he or she can invalidate the Provisional Waiver and require that the applicant applies for the traditional I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver (if eligible).