601-A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence
The I-601A is the USCIS Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. It is a form of pardon available to undocumented individuals who qualify for status adjustment through a spouse or parent. The I-601A process consists of three basic steps: the I-130 petition, the I-601A application, and a consular interview in the beneficiary’s country of origin.
US citizens and permanent residents can petition US visas for their immediate relatives. However, only spouses and children petitioned by citizens or permanent residents are eligible for 601A waivers. Along with the simple petition listing biographical data, the petitioner must submit evidence of the relationship.
After the forms and evidence are assembled and submitted to USCIS for processing, USCIS may require the petitioner and beneficiary to schedule an interview with an immigration official in order to further assess the relationship.
The I-130 petition process typically takes 5 to 7 months.
I-601A: Application for Unlawful Presence Waiver
Once USCIS has approved the I-130 petition, the undocumented beneficiary must apply for a waiver of their unlawful presence. In order to acquire this waiver, the petitioning relative must demonstrate why it would be an unreasonable hardship for the US citizen/legal permanent resident if a) the undocumented person had to return to their country of origin or b) both the petitioner and the beneficiary had to go live in the beneficiary’s country of origin.
Your attorney will help gather evidence to support your claim of unreasonable hardship. These could include: financial, educational, or medical records; reports on conditions in the country of origin; and/or affidavits from friends and relatives.
Once the USCIS office has approved the 601A application, the beneficiary will be scheduled for an interview at the US consulate in his or her country of origin. At the interview, the US consular officials will ask the beneficiary questions about his or her biography and criminal history (the interview is somewhat comparable to a Green Card/Legal Permanent Status interview).
It is very important that the beneficiary disclose to their attorney any previous legal or immigration issues before beginning the 601A process. After passing the consular interview, the beneficiary will be cleared to travel back to the United States, where they will have legal permanent residency, otherwise known as a Green Card.