Imagility News

The I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Simplifies the Process for Immigrant Visa Applicants

Certain immigrant visa applicants, including relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, now have the option to request a provisional waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act section 212(a)(9)(B). This waiver can be sought before departing the United States for an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Since March 4, 2013, immediate relatives (spouses, children, and parents) of U.S. citizens have been able to apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before leaving the United States for their consular interview. The scope expanded on August 29, 2016, encompassing all individuals statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa and a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence.

Noncitizens unable to adjust their status in the U.S. must travel abroad for an immigrant visa. Those with over 180 days of unlawful presence require a waiver of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act before returning. Traditionally, waiver applications were submitted after the immigrant visa interview abroad, upon determination of inadmissibility by a Department of State (DOS) consular officer.

The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows statutorily eligible individuals to apply for the waiver in the U.S. before departing for their immigrant visa interview. This approach aims to reduce the separation time between U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident family members and their relatives seeking immigrant visas.

The expansion of this process does not impact the availability of the Form I-601 process. Those who do not qualify for a provisional waiver or choose not to seek one can still file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility after a DOS consular officer determines their inadmissibility to the United States.

Source: USCIS