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The Expansion of I-601A Waivers

December 7, 2016 | Posted In Immigration

In August of 2016, the Department of Homeland Security expanded the rules regarding I-601 waivers.  In order to understand the significance of this expansion, it may be helpful to review a brief history surrounding these types of waivers.

When an illegal immigrant tries to leave the United States to apply for a green card, they can be subjected to a ban for unlawful presence that lasts up to 10 years.  Prior to 2012, it was necessary for an individual to apply for an inadmissibility waiver while they remained outside the United States. 

This prevented people from returning to the United States as they waited for a decision regarding their application and few illegal immigrants attempted to return to their country of origin to request an extreme hardship waiver.

During 2012, the Obama Administration created the provisional waiver system.  The purpose of such waivers was to allow people to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility before leaving the United States. 

Starting in 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allowed individuals to apply for a “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver” where the only reason for inadmissibility to the United States was a ban for unlawful presence.  Since 2013, an individual could file a provisional waiver form I-601A after their visa petition was approved but prior to leaving the United States to attend their consular interview. 

2016 Waiver Expansion

The 2016 rules greatly expand the provisional waiver process:

  • The process is no longer limited to family based visas.
  • Includes I-130 immediate relative, I-140 employment based and I-360 special immigrants.
  • Extreme hardships are no longer restricted to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen.
  • Includes hardship to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

Those individuals who can file for a provisional waiver include:

  • Parents
  • Spouses
  • Unmarried or married children of U.S. citizens who are either under or over the age of 21
  • Permanent residents
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens

Waivers and Extreme Hardship

In order to qualify, a waiver applicant must demonstrate that an extreme hardship would be caused for a qualifying relative, such as a spouse or parent, if the waiver is denied.  Hardship can include:

  • Living Together: The applicant can show that extreme hardship would exist if the application is denied and they are required to join the immigrant abroad in order to live together as a family.
  • Living Apart: The applicant can also explain that extreme hardship exists if the immigrant is forced to remain abroad and require the family to live apart from one another.

Contact a New Jersey Deportation Attorney Today

The laws regarding waivers and deportation are complex and can be difficult to apply to your specific situation.  Contact the experienced deportation lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. today to discuss your future immigration options and the possibility of success with an I-601A waiver.

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