Khalil Gibran once said, “And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” As attorneys specialized in Immigration Law we assure you that many families, who had to endure long periods of separation while seeking immigrant visas will tell you, this is nothing but the truth. Applying for an immigrant visa can be a long and frustrating process.
However, there's a way to speed up the process before departing the United States for your immigrant visa interview. After March 4, 2013, “certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens –Immediate relatives– can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States.” (Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).
If you are thinking about applying for the Provisional Waiver I-601A and are looking for an Immigration Lawyer to handle your case, we urge you to check this article first; we will do our best to explain in the simplest of terms questions like: What is an I-601A Provisional Waiver? Who can apply for it? And, what happens if the Department of State has already scheduled your immigrant visa appointment?
What is an I-601A Waiver?
I-601A Waiver is an application that can be submitted by certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are presently residing in the United States and want to become lawful permanent residents. The purpose of the I-601A Provisional Waiver is to shorten the time these U.S. citizens have to be separated from their loved ones by allowing families to reunify faster.
Who can apply for the provisional waiver?
Every waiver case varies according to specific circumstances, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that only aliens who meet the following criteria may request a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212:
- You must be at least 17 years old.
- You must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen: spouse, child or parent.
- You need an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
- You must have a pending immigrant visa case with the Department of State.
- You need to be able to prove “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative.
- You must be physically present in the U.S. to submit your application.
What if the Department of State has already scheduled your immigrant visa appointment?
Keep in mind that if you had a visa interview scheduled by the Department of State before January 3, 2013 you are not eligible to submit the Form I-601A. Only applicants scheduled by the National Visa Center (NVC) after this date for a visa interview are eligible to apply for the I-601A waiver. Please check your appointment notification letter to verify when the NVC took the scheduling action.
Immigration Law: 601A Waiver or 601 Waiver?
Before I-601A waivers (Immigration Law) went into effect in March of 2013, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens had to travel to their country of origin in order to obtain an immigrant visa and adjust their status in the United States. But now, the 601A Waiver allows these same immediate relatives to file for the waiver from inside the USA before departing the country.
At Law Offices of Alice Antonovsky we urge you to review the required qualifications thoroughly. Remember that not all relatives are eligible to apply for this provisional waiver, so if you are unsure about meeting the qualifications according to current Immigration Law, then we recommend you to appear for your scheduled immigrant visa interview. Please, if you are applying for permanent residence (a “green card”) in the U.S., we advise you to seek legal counsel from an experienced Immigration Lawyer.