USCIS Begins

On March 4, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin to accept applications for the new Form I-601A, the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. This form is intended to reduce the amount of time families are separated from one another while trying to gain lawful permanent residence.

Green card applicants who are currently in the United States unlawfully can apply for the waiver, which would ensure they are not penalized for their presence. Under current law, the I-601A must be filed while the green card applicant is in his/her country of origin, but the new procedure allows applicants to file before departing the United States.

“This rule is not going to apply to everyone,” said Evelyne Hart, a Southern California immigration attorney. “It’s only going to affect some people, those who are married to a U.S. citizen or have a parent who is a U.S. citizen and have an approved I-130 or I-360 petition. It’s complicated paperwork, immigrants who are trying to apply for this hardship waiver are going to need help. They should consult with an immigration attorney who is familiar with the processes.”

A green card applicant must be over the age of 17 and an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible for the provisional waiver. Applicants must also have an approved Form I-130, green card interview scheduled after January 3, 2013, no other issues that could prevent a return to the United States and the ability to prove that their family will experience true hardship while they are away. Lastly, they must have all removal proceedings administratively closed.