Unlawful Presence and I-601A Eligibility
For people who have entered the United States without permission or have overstayed their visa and accrued unlawful presence, the possibility of obtaining lawful permanent residence can be difficult. Generally, a person can obtain lawful permanent residence (green card) through employment-based sponsorship, family sponsorship through a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident relative, or through certain limited special circumstances such as being a victim of a crime or being a victim of trafficking, among others.
For those that have accrued unlawful presence through overstaying their visa or entering the United States without permission there can be very serious immigration consequences depending on the amount of a time a person has been without status in the United States. A person who has accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States, is subject to a 3-year bar that is automatically triggered once the person departs the United States. This bar would prevent a person from being readmitted into the United States or adjusting status within the prohibited period. Similarly, a person who has accrued one year or more of unlawful presence in the United States is subject to a 10 year bar which would also prevent a person from being readmitted to the United States or adjusting status and is triggered upon the person’s departure from the United States.
However, there is a waiver that is available that will “forgive” or “waive” the 3- or 10- year ban. This waiver, called the I-601A waiver may only be used if the applicant can prove that the 3- or 10-year bar would cause an “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative. A qualifying relative for purposes of the I-601A waiver is a U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse or parent—United States Citizen children are not qualifying relatives for purposes of the I-601A waiver.
The I-601A waiver is a provisional approval of the unlawful presence waiver before having to depart the United States to attend the immigrant visa interview at the consulate in your home country. However, approval of the I-601A waiver does not guarantee the issuance of an immigrant visa and the ability to enter the United States lawfully after the consular interview. If at the time of the interview, you are found to be inadmissible on other grounds the provisional waiver could be revoked.
Attorney Ashley E. Lively has successfully obtained many I-601A waivers for clients. To determine whether you qualify for the I-601A waiver or are inadmissible under any other ground please contact Lively Law Firm for a free consultation.