Form I-601A

If you’re looking for help with form I-601a or other immigration matters, Manji Law can help. Call us today!

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: January 10, 2023. Updated: May 15, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

What Is Form I-601A?


Oftentimes, situations occur that result in well-meaning individuals remaining in the U.S. past the time for which they had permission. The form I-601a is the only way to avoid significant legal problems and certain deportation that result from overstaying.

On these occasions, under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212 (a)(9)(B), the relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can use the I-601a form to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. Otherwise, they will suffer extreme hardship.

This allows immediate relatives (the U.S. citizen, or parent, or the U.S. lawful permanent resident spouse), employment-based or family-sponsored immigrants, and Diversity Visa selectees who are eligible for an immigrant visa to apply to have their unlawful presence in the U.S. waived before their immigration interview. Otherwise, they would not be eligible to remain.

Previously, these individuals had to wait until after they were denied the right to be in the U.S. based on a consulate interview. They would then apply for a waiver using the I-601a. This often took over a year. Now, they are allowed to await the results of the application while remaining in the U.S. with their family.

However, many people have questions regarding an I-601a status or I-601 timeline. Since the regulations regarding immigration are constantly changing, it would behoove you to contact an immigration attorney who is familiar with the latest laws of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

What is Unlawful Presence?


Unlawful presence refers to a person’s time in the United States without being authorized by the government to be in the country. The consequences of unlawful presence are severe and can lead to you being barred from returning to the U.S. By completing the I-601A form, you may be able to waive the unlawful presence exclusion before leaving the country.

If a D.O.S. consular officer determines that the relative is inadmissible to the United States, immediate relatives can still file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

Our immigration attorneys can help you with this process. Get in touch with Manji Law today!


Eligibility Requirements for Form I-601A


The provisional unlawful presence waiver allows you to request a waiver of the three-year and ten-year bars to admission based on your unlawful presence in the U.S. To be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, you must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Being at least 17 years of age
  • Being the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition (such as Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative)
  • Being physically present in the US at the time of the application
  • Having a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or LPR
  • Demonstrating that your qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is denied.
  • Having an immigrant visa interview scheduled with the U.S. Department of State
  • Having an approved immigrant visa petition from a qualifying relative
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not initiated (ICE) deportation proceedings against you
  • You must have an immigrant visa interview appointment scheduled

If you are granted a provisional unlawful presence waiver, you can return to the United States without waiting outside the country for an extended period. 

Nevertheless, a provisional unlawful presence waiver does not guarantee admission to the United States. The immigrant visa interview determines whether you receive a visa or not.

The Form I-601a Application Process


The I-601a application process can take time to fully understand and properly complete. In fact, the Division of State (DOS) may cancel your immigrant visa application if you fail to appear for your scheduled immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, even if your provisional unlawful presence waiver was approved. 

Plus, if you are in the process of being deported, you are generally ineligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. However, certain exceptions to this may apply. 

The intricacies of immigration law, including the I-601a, are detailed and complex. To help mitigate the consequences of your situation, it is wise to retain appropriate legal counsel. Attorneys with experience representing clients in the Atlanta immigration court can provide the necessary counsel.


I-601a Waiver Odds of Approval

Among immigration attorneys, it is well-known that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies, on average, 25 to 35 percent of I-601a waivers every calendar year. This is approximately one in every three to four candidates. 

To avoid being denied, it’s important to be aware of some common mistakes applicants routinely make in the immigrant visa process. Working with an experienced immigration attorney who builds a great attorney-client relationship can greatly help you avoid these common oversights and make certain you have thoroughly prepared your I-601a waiver application.


Avoiding I-601a Waiver Pitfalls

Applying for an I-601a waiver is a fairly intricate procedure. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the documents required, including immigrant visa fee receipt, filing guidelines, complicated eligibility requirements, and other essential measures. If you carelessly omit important files or fail to follow certain eligibility requirements, you might suffer a delay or immediate rejection of your I-601a waiver. 

Therefore, hiring a skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyer is often a vital step in the process. The right counselor can explain the process and lead you to successful completion.

I-601 vs. I-601A: What is the Difference?

While both the I-601 and I-601A waivers offer remedies for individuals facing inadmissibility issues, their applicability and processes differ significantly. The I-601 waiver, often referred to as the “Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility,” is broader in scope. It is used by various non-citizens who are outside the U.S., allowing them to waive a range of inadmissibilities, such as those due to health, criminal reasons, or prior immigration violations. This form must be filed after a visa denial.

In contrast, the I-601A waiver, known as the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver,” specifically addresses the issue of unlawful presence. It is available only to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the U.S. and are seeking to adjust their status. Crucially, it allows individuals to apply for a waiver in the United States before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. This pre-approval can significantly reduce the time U.S. citizens are separated from their family members, thus minimizing the hardship of a lengthy family separation.

This nuanced distinction emphasizes the need for applicants to clearly understand which waiver applies to their specific situation, potentially saving time and reducing the risk of application denial.

When to Submit Form I-601A

In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, all other immigration requirements must be met, including the submission of Form I-601A. Therefore, you must have an approved immigrant visa petition filed by a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident spouse, or qualifying relative to submit the provisional waiver application.

It is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before submitting this form, as mistakes can lead to serious delays or even denial of immigration benefits.


Form I-601A Checklist

Before you file Form I-601A, ensure you have all the necessary documents to complete the form correctly. Here is a checklist of items to help ensure that your application is complete:

  • Proof of relationship to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, such as a birth certificate.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • Proof of your presence in the US, such as employment and school records.
  • Proof of financial hardship, if applicable.
  • A current medical examination report.
  • Evidence of any criminal convictions.
  • Two passport-style photographs.
  • The filing fee.
  • Proof of your payment history for any fees owed to USCIS, including any fees paid for a prior visa application.
  • A signed and completed Form I-601A.
  • A waiver request letter explaining the facts and circumstances surrounding your unlawful presence in the United States.
  • A copy of your visa or other immigration document issued by USCIS, such as an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Evidence of any prior applications or requests for relief from removal that have been denied.

Form I-601A Processing Time

The processing time for Form I-601A, or the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, is generally around 6 months. However, depending on the individual case, this timeline can be longer or shorter.

The waiver application must be properly filled out, and all required documentation must be included for the application to be processed without delay.


What Evidence Must I Submit with Form I-601A?

When you file Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, you must submit evidence to support your application.

The specific evidence you will need to submit depends on the grounds of inadmissibility that you are trying to waive and the specific circumstances of your case.

Your Form I-601A will generally require the following types of evidence:

  • Proof of your identity, such as a copy of your passport or other government-issued identification.
  • Evidence of your relationship to your qualifying relative (such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate).
  • Evidence of your qualifying relative’s status as a US citizen or legal permanent resident (such as a copy of their US passport or green card).
  • Evidence that you have an approved immigrant visa petition (such as Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative).
  • Evidence that you have an immigrant visa interview scheduled with the US Department of State.
  • Evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements for a provisional unlawful presence waiver

Ensure you carefully review the instructions for Form I-601A and submit all required evidence. Your application may be denied if you fail to submit the required evidence.

What Happens When You Get Approved for an I-601A?

If your unlawful presence waiver application is approved, it means that you have been granted a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the U.S.

If your unlawful presence waiver application is approved, it means you are no longer inadmissible based on your unlawful presence. As a result, you will not be subject to the three-year or ten-year bars to admission based on your unlawful presence in the country.

How Manji Law Can Help

Manji Law, P.C. is dedicated to providing customers with the very best representation possible. The company is conveniently located in the center of downtown Decatur, Georgia, and only a couple of miles away from downtown Atlanta. Jameel Manji will passionately fight to see you permanently reunited with your family.

Need Immigration Help? Talk To Our Immigration Attorneys


If you are looking for immigration help in Atlanta, contact a top-rated immigration attorney today to discuss your case and get the immigration assistance you need. 

A skilled immigration attorney can assist you with everything from completing the provisional waiver application to representing you in immigration court if necessary. 

Our top-rated immigration attorneys in Atlanta understand the complexities of the immigration process and will be there to guide you every step of the way.

We can help you assess your eligibility and provide guidance on filling out the provisional waiver application and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal.

No matter what immigration issue you are facing, our qualified lawyers can provide you with the legal advice and assistance you need to secure your future in the U.S. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with experienced child custody lawyers.