U.S. immigration law is constantly changing, and for relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents living in Florida, knowing what options there are to remain in the country even if they are not immediately eligible to apply for immigration is essential in order to keep a family together through difficult times.
Also called a provisional or stateside waiver, the I601A was created in 2013 as a means for spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens to avoid having to leave the country for their consular interview. In 2016, the eligibility status for this waiver was expanded to include all individuals who are eligible for immigrant status as well as those who would be inadmissible for unlawful presence in the United States.
Usually, aliens who cannot adjust their status in the United States or who have stayed beyond the legal limit face a three- or ten-year bar for unlawful presence and deportation to their home countries, where they must then apply through an immigrant visa interview process. This can take years, and in the meantime, family members can become trapped outside the country. The I601A can shorten the time of separation that U.S. citizens and their immediate relatives are separated.
What is extreme hardship status?
In order to qualify for the provisional waiver, the USCIS lists four levels of eligibility to an applicant who:
- is either a relative who must remain in the United States to care for an individual with a major medical issue who cannot safely travel abroad, or whose native country is in a state of war,
- either has a relative whose serious medical condition makes travel difficult, or whose home country is in a state of political upheaval,
- either has a relative whose significant condition makes travel difficult, or whose home country has a very poor economy, or
- either has a relative who debts could not be repaid abroad, or whose parents are aging,
with Level One providing the strongest argument for the granting of a waiver. Although deportation creates what are considered typical hardships, such as job loss and family separation, and are not necessarily categorized as extreme, each situation is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
If you or a relative have been declared inadmissible or have been denied a visa and are facing deportation, it is essential to get with an experienced immigration attorney serving the Tampa area as soon as possible to discuss option for obtaining a waiver.