Reason to file I-601a

Form I-601A is the Application for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.

This form is necessary when immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are applying for their Green Card and they are not eligible for Adjustment of Status.

Immediate Relatives

This is the immediate relative category:

  • The Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • The Unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  • The Parents of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21

Immediate relatives have priority in U.S. immigration law. Immediate relatives do not have to wait for Green Cards.

Green Cards are immediately available to immediate relatives.

Immediate Relatives and Form I-601A

Why would an immediate relative need to file form I-601A?

There is one main reason why an immediate relative would need to file Form I-601A: If a person is applying for a Green Card through the family-based category but he or she cannot do Adjustment of Status because of at least 180 days of unlawful presence, then he or she has to file a waiver for the unlawful presence. Unlawful presence means that a person has remained in the United States without authorization.

Now this is true for all family members applying for a Green Card, not just immediate relatives.

Anyone who has remained in the country without authorization could be subject to 3-year or 10-year bars. If someone has stayed in the U.S. without authorization for more than six months but less than a year, then he or she won’t be able to return for three years. If someone has stayed in the U.S. without authorization for more than a year, then he or she won’t be able to return for 10 years.

A Provisional Waiver can waive those entry restrictions. Immediate relatives, if eligible, can file Form I-601A while non-immediate relatives, if eligible, can file Form I-601.

The difference between the two is that I-601A can be filed before the family member has to leave the country to apply for a Green Card. If someone cannot do Adjustment of Status in the U.S., he or she has to apply for the Green Card from outside the U.S. at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Eligibility Requirement for Form I-601A

These are the eligibility requirements for Form I-601A:

  • Be an immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen
  • Be physically present in the U.S
  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Have a immigrant visa case pending with the Department of State
  • Have no other reason that could prevent entrance to the U.S. beyond unlawful presence
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