At Solano Law Firm, we understand why people overstay visas and try to live inside the United States without a legal immigration status. However, undocumented immigrants face enormous challenges — especially in these changing times. Not everyone is eligible for admission into the United States. USCIS can deny a visa or green card because you were in the United States without legal status for more than 6 months or 12 months. An experienced immigration lawyer may be able to help you get the visa or green card that you need through an I-601A waiver.
Are You Facing an Immigration Bar?
Under U.S. immigration law, undocumented immigrants can face significant bars to legal entry. These bars include:
- 3 Year Bar: If you were unlawfully present in the United States for more than 6 months but less than a year, you cannot enter the United States for three years.
- 10 Year Bar: If you were unlawfully in the United States for a year or more, you cannot enter the United States for ten years.
- Permanent Bar: If you try to re-enter the U.S. unlawfully again after residing in the country for more than a year in the past, you will be permanently barred from the legal immigration process.
If you’re facing an immigration bar, talk to an attorney about applying for an I-601A waiver. This waiver can help you get around the bars, under certain circumstances.
Who Is Eligible for I-601A?
You may be eligible for an I-601A waiver if you are:
- Physically present in the United States
- At least 17 years old
- Have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent or spouse who is your Qualifying Relative
- Prove that your Qualifying Relative will suffer extreme hardship if you departed the country
- Have an approved I-130 petition
- Otherwise admissible to enter the United States
- Not currently facing deportation
- Do not have a pending application for adjustment of status or immigration interview
- Have never violated a deportation or removal order
In other words, the I-601A waiver can help people who would otherwise be eligible for a green card or visa overcome an unlawful presence bar.
However, you may have difficulty getting a waiver if you’ve been permanently barred from the United States. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for an immigration waiver, it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney.
How Do I Get an I-601A Waiver for Unlawful Presence?
In the past, eligible immigrants had to leave the United States and return to their home countries before they could apply for an I-601A waiver. This caused families significant hardship, family separation for more than one year, and created delays. However, USCIS now can grant a provisional unlawful presence waiver under I-601A. While you will still have to return to your home country for your immigrant visa interview, an I-601A provisional waiver will let you remain with your family in the United States until it’s time for you to depart to your home country for an immigrant visa interview.
Your I-601A application will include the following:
- Form I-601A (Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence)
- A copy of your approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
- Fees for your application and biometrics
- Information about your qualifying relative who is a U.S. citizen
- Evidence documenting the extreme hardship your family would face
Once you submit your waiver application, USCIS will review it, and may eventually ask for additional information. If USCIS determines that you are eligible for a waiver, you’ll receive written notice informing you of the approval. However, USCIS can deny your request for many reasons. For example, you may have provided insufficient evidence documenting your relationship with your U.S. citizen family member or regarding your Qualifying Relative’s extreme hardship, or you did not properly complete a form. In these cases, you should consult with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible about your legal options and next steps.
What Qualifies as Extreme Hardship?
Almost every immigrant family will face hardship if a loved one leaves the United States. However, USCIS only approves I-601A waivers when there is evidence of “extreme hardship.” This means that you must show that your family will face more than heartache if you or a loved one must leave the country. At Solano Law Firm, we can help you assess your evidence and build a compelling case for extreme hardship.
Depending on your circumstances, your claim may involve health-related, financial, or loss of work or education opportunities. For example, if you are the primary caretaker of a young child or elderly family member, you may have sufficient evidence of extreme hardship. USCIS will also consider the safety of your home country in your waiver application. For instance, if you are from a war-torn country, you may qualify.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for an Immigration Waiver?
Applying for an I-601A waiver isn’t a simple or easy process — and USCIS denies many requests. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a legal professional before you start your application. An immigration attorney can help you build a comprehensive waiver submission that addresses your unique circumstances and streamlines your journey. Even if you’ve already started the application process, it’s not too late to talk to an attorney.
Contact Solano Law Firm Today to Learn More
An I-601A waiver can help you avoid the risk of being trapped outside the U.S. and separated from your loved ones, which happens in many cases when an experienced attorney is not involved. Solano Law Firm has built a reputation for exceptional service and sophisticated legal advocacy. We help immigrants and their families achieve their goals and guide them through the complex process of obtaining an immigrant visa, green card, or U.S. citizenship. To learn more about immigration waivers, contact us today for a confidential consultation.