U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-601A, titled "Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver," and also known as the "stateside waiver," is available for free download on the Forms page of the USCIS website. Applicants can now use it to file for a provisional waiver.
What Form I-601A Is Used For
First, a little
background: Form I-601A is a specialized waiver-request form—closely related
to the more generic Form I-601 that's used by any immigrant applying for a
waiver of inadmissibility in order to overcome a barrier to obtaining a green
card. For example, an immigrant might use Form I-601 to ask the U.S. government to overlook the fact that the
visa or green card applicant is inadmissible based on past commisson of a crime
or fraud, or excessive unlawful presence in the United States.
however, has a more specialized use: It's for certain close relatives of U.S.
citizens and lawful permanent residents seeking a waiver of the three- and
ten-year time bars for unlawful presence, and doing so in advance of leaving
the U.S. for their immigrant visa (green card) interview at a U.S. consulate in
their home country.
For further details
on this so-called stateside waiver, see Nolo’s update, DHS Publishes Procedures for Green Card Applicants to Request
Unlawful Presence Waiver, as well as its on Who Is Eligible for Provisional Waiver of Three- or Ten-Year Time
Bar and How to Apply for Provisional Waiver of Three- or Ten-Year Time Bar.
You'll Need to Provide on Form I-601A
Here's what you
will be asked to fill in on Form I-601A.
identifying information. This includes name, Alien Registration Number (A#,which
you will have only if you have submitted previous applications for immigration
benefits or been in removal/deportation proceedings—if the latter is true,
definitely see an attorney before proceeding with this application), and Social
Security number, if you have one (which you should only have if you were
authorized to work in the U.S.).
address. You are allowed to use a mailing address, but must still enter your
actual address. The Department of Homeland Security has specifically said that
it will not use this information to attempt to deport immigrants (unless they
are criminals or threats to public safety).
contact information. This includes telephone number and email address.
country of birth and citizenship information.
about your last entry to the United
States. You will need to enter the date,
place (city and U.S.
state), and manner of entry, which was most likely "Entry Without
Inspection" or "EWI." (If you had entered the U.S. legally, with a visa or visa waiver,
chances are you are eligible to adjust status without leaving the U.S., and
therefore have no need for this provisional waiver.) Don’t worry that you’re
revealing a big secret here—most of the people using this form also entered
about your previous entries to the United States. This section is more
problematic. If you have entered the U.S.
without inspection more than once, it’s possible you have become subject to a
“permanent bar” to U.S.
immigration, for which no waiver is available. Consult an attorney, and see The
Permanent Bar to Immigration for Certain Repeat Violators for more
information on this.
about your immigration or criminal history. You’ll need to truthfully answer
questions about past crimes, immigration violations and fraud, and other issues
that might make you inadmissible for reasons other than unlawful presence. A
“Yes” answer to any of these will result in denial of your provisional waiver application.
But resist the temptation to lie! Doing so can get you into bigger trouble than
the original ground of inadmissibility. Consult an immigration attorney if you
aren’t sure you can truthfully answer “No” to any of these questions. When you
visit the attorney, bring any evidence you have concerning the issue, such as
police or court records.
about the petitioner, that is, the employer or relative who filed a visa petition for
you, or yourself if you self-petitioned on Form I-360 or entered the diversity visa lottery. You will need to supply
information about the petition approval. You need to have received this
approval before going forward with this provisional waiver application.
about your qualifying relative. This is probably the same person as in the
previous section, but not necessarily. It is the person (or persons) who will
suffer extreme hardship if your waiver application and thus green card is
denied. This person must be your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent
resident spouse or parent—hardship to your children does not count for the
information. You will be given space to add information that is relevant to
your application. Another option is to attach a written statement summarizing
your request (which is a task that many people find they prefer a lawyer’s help
Don’t forget to sign the form, or USCIS will return the whole packet to you.
of person preparing this application. If an attorney or accredited
representative is helping you, he or she will fill out this information.
out the form is not enough by itself to qualify you for a provisional stateside
waiver of unlawful presence. You will need to provide extensive documentation
showing that you are eligible for this waiver, as described in How to Apply for Provisional Waiver of Three- or Ten-Year Time Bar. For assistance, consult an experienced immigration attorney