Major Expansion of Waiver of Inadmissibility Policy

Expansion of I-601A Waiver Announced

On July 29, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced expansion for eligibility of the I-601A waiver for unlawful presence “to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver”.  

Any individual who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days but less than a year, and who depart from the U.S. voluntarily before removal proceedings are initiated is barred to return to the U.S. (“inadmissible”) for 3 years from the date of departure.  By the same token, any individual who has remained unlawfully for one year or longer and departs under the same circumstances will be barred from entering the U.S. for 10 years from the date of departure.

The Secretary of Homeland Security may waive this ground of inadmissibility to U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent if they show extreme hardship. This waiver includes all beneficiaries of family-sponsored, employment based immigrant petitions, as well as Diversity Visa selectees. The goal is to promote family unity and reduce the length of time family members are separated.

The provisional waiver is designed to encourage unlawfully present individuals to leave the U.S. after the approval of the waiver, attend their interviews at the Consulates abroad, and return legally to the U.S. to reunite with their family. It will reduce the time applicants are separated from their families in the U.S.

Ineligible aliens are:

  •  Aliens under age 17;

  • The alien does not have an approved immigrant petition or has not been a Diversity Visa selectee;

  • The alien is in removal proceedings with no final order (unless administratively closed and not yet re-calendared at the time of filing application);
  • The alien is subject to an administratively final order of removal or deportation, or exclusion under any provision of the law unless the alien has been granted an application for consent to reapply for admission under INA Section 212(a)(9)(A)(iii) and 8 CFR 212.2(j).

  • Reinstatement of prior removal order by CBP or ICE before filing provisional unlawful presence waiver or while provisional unlawful presence waiver is pending; or

  • The alien has a pending application with USCIS for lawful permanent resident status.

Application period for this waiver begins August 29, 2016. We urge anyone who may be eligible to apply to not submit an application before the application period opens to avoid denial.