Differences between Form I-601 and Form I-601A explained

Form I-601 is used to waive grounds of inadmissibility and form I-601A is used to waive provisional unlawful presence. 

In other words, form I-601 lets you get a visa even after being denied. You have to have a compelling reason to receive this visa. Form I-601A lets you stay in the U.S. even after a visa overstay to help a family member.

The second difference between the two forms is that Form I-601 can be filed from outside or inside the United States, while Form I-601A must be filed from inside the United States. 

Who Should Use Form I-601?

If one has been denied a visa or other immigration benefit, an I-601 waiver may be filed to have the USCIS review and remove the reasons one was found ineligible. 

You can use this form if

  • Your Green Card application was denied
  • You are applying for Adjustment of Status
  • You are applying for Temporary Protected Status
  • You are applying for the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Act
  • You are applying for the A Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act 
  • You are applying for the Violence Against Women Act 

If you are an applicant for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence, or you are an applicant for an immigrant, K, or V nonimmigrant visa (and you are outside the United States and were found inadmissible during your interview,) you may file this application to obtain relief from the following grounds:

  • Health-related reasons
  • Immigration Fraud/Other Crimes
  • Membership in a Totalitarian Party
  • Immigrant Smuggling
  • Inadmissibility Because of the 3-Year or 10-Year Unlawful Presence Bar
  • Immigrants Previously Removed (NACARA and HRIFA)
  • Unlawfully Present After Previous Immigration Violations (NACARA, HRIFA, and VAWA)
  • If your application for a Green Card through adjustment of status has been denied

If you are an applicant for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), adjustment of status based on T nonimmigrant status, or adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) based on an approved Form I-360,  you may file this application to obtain relief from the following grounds:

If you are an applicant for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 202 or Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) 902, you may file this application to obtain relief from the following grounds:

  • All grounds listed for the adjustment of status applicants except the 3-year or 10-year bar due to previously unlawful presence in the United States 
  • Immigrants previously removed
  • Unlawfully present after previous immigration violations

If you are an applicant for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner or the child of a VAWA self-petitioner, you may file this application to obtain relief from the following grounds:

  • All grounds listed for the adjustment of status applicants
  • Unlawfully present after previous immigration violations

Who Should Use Form I-601A?

Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, allows eligible relatives of U.S. citizens/ permanent residents to request a waiver of a multi-year bar for being unlawfully present in the United States. An applicant who has an unlawful presence in the U.S. for a period of time could face being banned from the U.S. for up to 10 years. This form allows for an applicant to appear at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate for an immigrant visa interview before they depart the United States to promote family unity.

You may file Form I-601A if you:

  1. Are currently present in the United States
  2. Are at least 17 years old at the time of filing
  3. Have an immigrant visa case pending with the Department of State (DOS) because 
    1. You have an approved Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), an approved Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker), or an approved Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant) and you have paid the immigrant processing fee to the DOS and are currently in the process of getting your immigrant visa;
    2. You have been selected by the DOS to participate in the Diversity Visa (DV) program and are currently in the process of getting your immigrant visa; or 
    3. You are the spouse/child of someone who has an approved immigrant visa petition and has paid the immigrant processing fee to the DOS, or you are the spouse/child of someone who is selected to participate in the Diversity Visa (DV) program and are currently in the process of getting your immigrant visa  
  4. Believe you are or will be inadmissible only for a period of unlawful presence in the US that was
    1. Over 180 days, but less than 1 year during a single stay
    2. One year or more in a single stay.