The Expansion of the Provisional Waiver (I-601A): Allowing legal permanent resident spouses and parents to be qualifying relatives
By Board Certified Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers
August 4, 2016
On July 29, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a new rule that expanded the program that allows people to apply for provisional waivers. This is very exciting because it will open the door for many more people to be able to get on the path to permanent residency.
What is a provisional waiver?
In US immigration law, the government creates reasons people are not eligible to adjust their status and become lawful. These are called Categories of Inadmissibility. One of these categories is unlawful presence into the US. A Provisional Waiver is a document that the DHS gives an immigrant that says, even though you have this Category of Inadmissibility, we will provisionally forgive you for it and let you apply for legal permanent residency. At first, immigrants, those who had entered illegally or couldn’t adjust status, had to remain outside the US the entire time that they were applying for the Waiver.
What is the old law?
Starting in 2013, DHS began allowing spouses and certain children of U.S. citizens to apply for these provisional waivers while in the United States. This only applied to immediate relatives. These people had to prove that they deserved a waiver because if they were not allowed to stay in the US, their US relative would suffer extreme hardship. This reform in 2013 helped reduce the amount of time that applicants had to wait outside the US. For someone going abroad to the Consular Interview already knowing that he will get a waiver reduces the wait time to weeks, as opposed to months or years. Ultimately, this helps families stay together and many more people were willing to apply.
How has the law been expanded?
First, this waiver is eligible to anyone who would be eligible for provisional unlawful presence waiver, including legal permanent resident or United States spouses or parents who would experience extreme hardship if the immigrant is denied the waiver or could not remain in the US. Next, someone with an outstanding removal order can file for the provisional waiver after getting I-212 approval if they otherwise qualify for the provisional wavier.
Who might be able to apply?
People who are barred due to unlawful presence and have a USC or LPR spouse or parent
Consult a competent and experienced immigration attorney. Make sure you consult from an attorney who is eligible to practice law. Avoid notaries.
Find out if that attorney has experience filing waivers. This is a complex area of immigration law that is evolving, which shows why you need a good attorney. This reform goes into effect August 29, 2016. Schedule a consultation now to see if you are eligible.
Why consider hiring Powers Law Group?
- Out of nearly a hundred of our provisional waivers since March 2013, only 2 were denied and upon opportunity to refile one of them, it was approved.
- We have successfully completed waivers for clients from the following countries: Mexico, Philippines, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Nigeria, Lebanon, etc
- We have had a same-sex provisional waiver approved.
- We have worked with varied and difficult fact patterns and have been successful in establishing hardship for our clients.
- We have staff specifically dedicated to waivers and have created a database of shared knowledge and the combined experience that helps us navigate a variety of waivers.
- Because of technology, we are able to accommodate people who live in other states and other countries to help them through their waiver petitions. In many cases, we never meet our clients in person. But, we can also help those that are more traditional in their means of communication including those without internet or computers.
- Many of our attorneys and our staff speak Spanish and therefore can assist many people without having to work against a language barrier. In fact, we have at least five languages spoken at our office.