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  • Writer's pictureTanya Powers

Demystifying the USCIS Unlawful Presence Waiver: A Comprehensive Guide


I-601A, Unlawful Presence Waiver
Introduction Navigating the intricacies of U.S. immigration law can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding waivers and exemptions. One such waiver that plays a crucial role in certain immigration cases is the USCIS Unlawful Presence Waiver. In this blog post, we'll demystify this waiver, explaining what it is, who may be eligible, and how to apply. What is the USCIS Unlawful Presence Waiver? The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Unlawful Presence Waiver, officially known as Form I-601A, provides relief to certain eligible individuals who are subject to the three-year or ten-year bars due to their unlawful presence in the United States. Unlawful presence refers to the period during which an individual remains in the U.S. after their authorized period of stay has expired, without proper legal status.
Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the USCIS Unlawful Presence Waiver, an applicant must meet specific criteria:

  1. Eligibility for a Visa: The applicant must be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa (green card) and must have an approved immigrant visa petition.

  2. Unlawful Presence: The applicant must have accrued unlawful presence in the U.S. and must be subject to either the three-year or ten-year bar.

  3. Extreme Hardship: The applicant must demonstrate that their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if they were denied entry or forced to remain separated.

Understanding the Three-Year and Ten-Year Bars The three-year bar applies to individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days but less than one year and then depart. If they try to re-enter within three years, they will be barred from re-entry.
The ten-year bar applies to individuals who have been unlawfully present for one year or more and then depart. If they try to re-enter within ten years, they will be barred from re-entry.

Application Process
  1. File Form I-601A: The first step in applying for the Unlawful Presence Waiver is filing Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver with supporting documents and the filing fee.

  2. Biometrics Appointment: Once the application is accepted, the applicant may be scheduled for a biometrics appointment.

  3. Attend Visa Interview: After USCIS approves the provisional waiver, the applicant must attend their immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.

  4. Returning to the U.S.: If the visa is approved, the applicant can re-enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

Conclusion The USCIS Unlawful Presence Waiver is a crucial tool for individuals who have accrued unlawful presence in the U.S. and face bars to re-entry. However, the application process can be complex, and each case is unique. It is highly advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met, no other grounds of inadmissibility exist, and that the application is properly prepared and submitted.

Remember, immigration laws are subject to change, and it's essential to stay updated with the latest information. Seeking professional advice can greatly improve your chances of success in navigating this process.




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