Form I-601A: All You Need To Know


This article will list the most frequently asked questions about the form I-601A, waiver extension, and who can benefit. Learn more here from an immigration attorney.

What Is Form I-601A?


It is a form used by applicants who entered the country illegally and have immediate family members who are American citizens or who have green cards, such as parents or a spouse. Using this form, you can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to avoid an entry ban of three to ten years.

A waiver application, Form I-601A, must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you return to your country of origin. If the USCIS has approved your application, you can attend a green card appointment in your country of origin at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This form must be submitted to USCIS along with the required supporting documentation.

I-601A processing times can vary depending on the workload of the USCIS at the time of submission. A naturalization & citizenship lawyer can provide you with more information about this waiver request and help you with the process.

Cost of an I-601A Immigration Waiver Request


There is a $630 filing fee overall. Additionally, you must pay $85 for biometric services if you are under 79. Money orders and personal or cashier’s checks can all be used to cover the cost.

All checks must be made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


The I-601A Steps


The steps that must be followed when filing an I-601A waiver are as follows:

  1. Filling out the form: Form I-601A must be filled out to be considered for approval. You will need to provide your full name and Alien Registration Number. Answer all questions honestly and completely, but if you do not have an answer, put N/A.
  2. Supporting documentation: In addition to your application, you must submit supporting documentation, which includes proof of relationship, financial stability, and more. Failure to submit requested evidence or supporting documents may result in USCIS rejecting or denying your application.
  3. Application Fee: Proof of payment of your application fee must be attached to your application.
  4. Interview: An interview may be required as part of the process. This is typically done at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  5. Final Decision: A final decision will be made on your application. If approved, you can move forward with your green card application.

It is crucial that you read and understand the I-601A instructions before you file an l-601 form; otherwise, you risk making a mistake that could result in a rejection of your application. An experienced visa lawyer can assist you in preparing your application.

What Happens After an I-601A Waiver Application Is Approved?


The U.S. Embassy in your country of origin will provide you with the necessary information once the USCIS has accepted the waiver. The applicant will be given instructions on how to schedule a new interview time at the embassy or consulate.

After receiving the I-601A approval notice from USCIS, the consulate typically forwards the information to the applicant via DHL. In most cases, this occurs 1-2 days after USCIS approval. If the packet has not arrived within 30 days, contact the consulate.

Then the candidate can schedule the consulate interview online. Depending on your most recent consular interview, you may need to provide updated paperwork such as a new medical exam if your most recent interview was more than a year ago. In addition, the consulate will probably also ask for updated DS-260 forms, new biometrics, and I-864 affidavits of support.

You also need to bring your passport and other necessary paperwork to the interview. The consulate will keep the passport if the visa has been granted. They will deliver the passport with the visa and a sealed package called the “Immigrant Visa Packet” shortly after.

You can check your Form I-601A application status online by entering the USCIS receipt number in the “Case Status” area on the USCIS home page. A decision notice will be sent to the address you provided on your Form I-601A application when the National Security Council (NSC) makes a decision.

How Long Does It Take for an I-601A Waiver to Be Processed?


When an I-601A waiver application is filed within the United States, it will typically be processed in 4 to 6 months. When filed elsewhere, it will take 6 to 12 months from the receipt date. After the DOS accepts the provisional unlawful presence waiver and the applicant submits the necessary paperwork to process an immigrant visa, the Department of State estimates the applicant’s immigrant visa interview to take place between 2 and 3 months.

A USCIS official may expedite a case under certain conditions, for example, if a lengthy wait may negatively affect the applicant’s or any U.S. citizen’s family members’ quality of life.

A financial freeze, COVID-19 constraints, staffing shortages, and other obstacles have caused USCIS to take a long time to process petitions and applications in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who Is Eligible to File an I-601A?

Not all immigrant visa categories can apply for inadmissibility. In other words, an individual is eligible to apply for a provisional waiver only if they meet certain criteria.

An individual applying must be, for example, physically present in the U.S., have at least 17, or have an immigrant visa case pending with the U.S. Department of State. However, your case has to be based on an approved immigrant visa petition that is, for example, family-based (Form I-130) or employment-based (Form I-140), for which the immigrant visa processing fee has been paid.

There is another possibility – you can be eligible if you are a Diversity Visa Program selectee and are in the process of getting your immigrant visa. In addition, if you are the child or spouse of a Diversity Visa Program selectee or a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition, you are also eligible to apply for a waiver.


Who Is Not Eligible for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?

If certain conditions apply, an individual would not be eligible for I-601A provisional waiver application.

For instance, an individual in removal proceedings, those with a pending Form I-485 with the USCIS, or simply those who don’t meet the requirements needed to file Form I-601A will not be eligible for an I-601A provisional waiver.

In addition, those who failed to establish that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if they were refused admission would also be ineligible.


Do You Have Legal Status to Live in the U.S. if Your I-601A Application Has Been Approved?

No. According to DHS, approving a provisional unlawful presence waiver does not:

  • Grant any legal immigration status
  • Extend any authorized period of stay
  • Permit an alien to enter the country without a visa
  • Shield aliens from deportation or law enforcement action
  • Grant other immigration benefits, such as advance parole and temporary work authorization

If an I-601A is approved, you have not obtained legal status to live in the U.S. Even so, you will require a visa to enter the nation. If you have been granted deferred action, you can qualify for advance parole. However, this does not ensure that you will be able to return to the country if you decide to leave. If you are deported, you will not be able to return to the United States.


Form I-601A Waiver and Immigration Lawyer

The I-601A provisional waiver process can be complicated, and it is essential to have an experienced immigration attorney by your side. With years of experience, Michael Murray of the Law Office of Michael G. Murray, P.A., is here to guide you through the I-601A waiver process. Feel free to schedule a meeting with an immigration lawyer in Austin immediately for assistance with citizenship and immigration services.

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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