When filling out your immigration documents, you likely have run into the requirement that you cannot have unlawfully entered or stayed in the United States. For many, this is an absolute bar to their immigration dreams. However, if you are related to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, you might have an option: the I-601A Provisional Waiver.
In the past, noncitizens who did not qualify for a visa (status adjustment) locally had to leave to obtain an immigrant visa abroad. If they overstayed by 180 days or more, then they would have been barred under Section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, from re-entering the country legally or ever getting a visa.
The Department of State would then have to determine that they were inadmissible. At that point, a noncitizen with citizen or permanent resident family could apply for the waiver.
However, at the beginning of 2013, the United States started allowing waivers of Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212 (a)(9)(B), which bars immigrant visa applicants who have unlawfully entered or stayed here. At first, only immediate relatives, like parents, children, and spouses qualified. However, toward the end of 2016, this allowance was expanded to all family members.
The new process
The new, provisional unlawful presence waiver can now be processed here, before the noncitizen travels to a consular office for their visa interview. To be clear, this waiver is only allowable for immigrant visas to immediate relatives, family-sponsored, Diversity Visa selectees and employment-based immigrants. This waiver cannot, generally, be stacked with other waivers.
The United States wants to keep families together. This new process shortens the processing time and the time needed to be away from family. However, as our Tampa, Florida, readers likely already know, while this all sounds straightforward, immigration law rarely is in practice.