If you are currently in the United States and you are not eligible to adjust your status because of unlawful presence, there may be a faster way to begin the green card process. Unlawful presence means you entered the country without inspection, you are in violation of your temporary visa or you overstayed your original period of authorization.
The provisional waiver application, or I-601A, is available to certain visa applicants who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens.
Purpose of the provisional waiver
According to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the purpose of the waiver is to reduce the amount of time that spouses and children are away from their families while they go through the immigrant visa process. Without the provisional waiver, the separation time is sometimes months or even years.
People who apply for the waiver must meet all requirements for eligibility:
- Be older than 16 years of age
- Be present physically in the U.S.
- Can demonstrate their family would suffer extreme hardship if the applicant was inadmissible to the U.S.
- Have a pending immigrant visa case due to specific reasons
- Have inadmissible status only due to unlawful presence
Actions after waiver approval
According to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, you cannot schedule your immigrant visa interview until the USCIS informs the National Visa Center about the approval of your I-601A application. After approval, the NVC will schedule your interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that you designated on your application.
You must then depart the U.S. to attend the interview. Failure to depart and attend may invalidate the waiver. It is also important to understand that a waiver approval does not guarantee visa issuance. During the immigrant visa interview, the consular officer may determine you are ineligible for a visa, and there would be an automatic revocation of the provisional waiver.