An immigrant is “unlawfully present” in the United States if he or she entered the country without permission and stayed for more than six months. Unfortunately, being unlawfully present in the United States can mean that you will be ineligible to obtain a visa in other circumstances, such as through marriage or employment.
To avoid this serious problem, you may be able to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver or I-601A waiver. An immigration lawyer in Austin can help you through this often-challenging process.
What is a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?
Years ago, someone who was in the U.S. unlawfully would have to leave the country and apply for a waiver at a consulate in their home country. They ran the risk of getting stuck in their home country if their waiver was not approved.
Thankfully, however, many immigrants who are considered “unlawfully present” today can apply for a while in the U.S. waiver, which allows them to remain in the United States while the waiver is processing. In fact, the law was even expanded in 2016 to include all people who would be statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa. A deportation lawyer will usually recommend that you use this process as a means to obtain your immigrant visa.
Anyone who has been in the U.S. for more than 180 days must obtain a waiver to get around the unlawful presence provisions in federal law. Although the waiver gets the process started, individuals must still travel to their home country to undergo an interview with a Department of State consular office. However, using this process, the immigrant can ensure that their waiver will be approved before they leave the country, which virtually eliminates the risk that he or she could not return to the U.S.
Who Can Apply for an I-601A Waiver?
You must first qualify for an immigrant visa to be eligible for an I-601A waiver. That means that you already have an approved petition for admission by a relative, employer, or other special approval. You must also already be physically present in the United States for over 180 days.
Anyone applying for this type of waiver must show that he or she has a qualifying relative that would suffer “extreme hardship” if your waiver is not granted. The relative must be a spouse or parent, and he or she must also be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You can have more than one qualifying relative as well.
The term “extreme hardship,” is not defined, but the court will often determine that extreme hardship is present in situations that involve:
- Serious illnesses or disabilities
- Violence or persecution in a home country
- Active members of the U.S. armed forces
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver is an option for you and your situation. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!
We handle a variety of immigration cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Immigration Lawyer In Austin.