I-601A Stateside Provisional Waiver Lawyers in San Jose
Beginning March 4, 2013, certain non-citizens in the United States who want to apply for permanent residence but are inadmissible because they have been illegally present in the U.S. will be able to take advantage of the new stateside "provisional waiver" program. This new "I-601A" procedure will allow non-citizens to apply for the extreme hardship waiver here in the United States, and then once approved, attend their immigrant visa interview in their home country. This is great news for our clients, because the old process required applicants to wait many months or years outside the U.S. and other while USCIS considered the waiver application.
To best assist our clients, our immigration attorneys have been monitoring the new provisional waiver process closely.
How Do I Qualify for the I-601 Stateside Provisional Waiver?
• spouses, parents of U.S. citizens and their unmarried children under age 21. Unfortunately, the new I-601A policy leaves out spouses and children of permanent residents, brothers or sisters of U.S. citizens, and adult or married children of U.S. citizens. These immigrants must still file their I-601 waiver application outside the United States.
- must be physically present in the United States when applying
- must be at least 17 years of age (though unlawful presence accrues only after the age of 18)
- have not been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview at the U.S. consulate as of January 3, 2013, the date of publication of the new regulations. Unfortunately, non-citizens who were already scheduled for an interview date may not take advantage of the provisional waiver.
USCIS will not automatically grant these waivers. Instead, the Applicant must prove that a U.S. citizen spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if USCIS denies the waiver. These I-601A hardship packets are complicated to prepare, and should only be handled by an immigration lawyer experienced in preparing waiver applications. The U.S. consular posts ask applicants to present extensive evidence of hardship, including medical documentation, witness declarations, employment and education records, along with a legal brief that persuasively explains how the non-citizen and her family meets the extreme hardship legal standard. Applicants should absolutely avoid immigration form preparers (notarios) who lack experience in preparing these hardship waiver applications.
Who May Not Qualify for the I-601A Stateside Provisional Waiver?
Importantly, the stateside waiver applicant must not be subject to any other grounds of inadmissibility besides unlawful presence. Non-citizens for whom there is a "reason to believe" they are inadmissible on account of past issues for criminal behavior, drugs, deportations, false claims to U.S. citizenship, or any other immigration violations will not qualify for a provisional waiver. Not everyone who has had criminal problems however is inadmissible, and our law firm has developed winning arguments to qualify our clients with crimes for the I-601A waiver.
Applicants with pending removal proceedings also do not qualify to file under the provisional waiver program. There is an exception for non-citizens with administratively closed cases whose cases have been taken off the immigration court calendar. Once the waiver is granted, the immigration court must terminate the deportation cases before the non-citizen departs the United States for the immigrant visa interview.
When Can I Apply for the I-601A Stateside Provisional Waiver?
The Application process begins March 4, 2013. Once that date has been reached, the Provisional Waiver Application may be submitted only once USCIS has approved your relative's I-130 or I-360 visa petition. After paying the immigrant visa processing fee with the U.S. Department of State, the NVC should be informed that you will be seeking a provisional waiver. The National Visa Center will then put your visa interview on hold until the I-601A is granted.
How long does it take for USCIS to Approve the I-601A Stateside Provisional Waiver?
USCIS expects it to take three months to review the waiver.
How much does it cost to apply for the I-601A Stateside Provisional Waiver?
The current USCIS filing fee is $585, plus a biometrics (fingerprint) fee of $85 for applicants 79 and younger.