Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers Explained—Sarah S. Rama, ESQ., LL.M.
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, IMMEDIATE RELATIVES
OF SOME IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS ARE ALLOWED TO APPLY FOR A NEW PROVISIONAL
UNLAWFUL PRESENCE WAIVER BEFORE LEAVING THE COUNTRY IF THEY CAN SHOW THAT
BEING SEPARATED FROM THEIR LOVED ONES IS A CAUSE OF EXTREME HARDSHIP.
IMMEDIATE RELATIVES INCLUDE CHILDREN, SPOUSES AND PARENTS OF U.S. CITIZENS.
The provisional unlawful presence waiver process enables people who need
a special “waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence”
to apply for the waiver while still in the United States, prior to leaving
for immigrant visa interviews abroad. This time-saving technique speeds
the return of family members to the U.S., shortening the time they are
separated from their loved ones during the process of securing immigrant
visas and ultimately becoming permanent lawful U.S. residents.
Currently, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are required to obtain
immigrant visas abroad. Those who have lived unlawfully in the U.S. for
more than 180 days are required to obtain a special waiver before returning
to the country. Relatives of U.S. citizens are unable to apply for that
waiver until they have undergone an immigrant visa interview outside of
the country and are determined inadmissible to the country. At that time,
immediate relatives eligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver
can apply for a waiver with a special form, called a Form I–601A.
The application process is explained in detail on the
It is important to note that the waiver process doesn’t change the
visa process—if your waiver is approved, you still have to leave
the country for your interview abroad. If approved, the provisional unlawful
presence waiver will go into effect after you have left the country to
appear at your immigrant visa interview and after you are proclaimed admissible
to the U.S. and eligible for an immigrant visa.
Are you eligible for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver?
In addition to being an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, those who
are eligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver must:
- be at least 17 years old;
- have an approved “Petition for Alien Relative” (Form I–130),
“Petition for Amerasian Widower” (Form I–360), or “Special
- have a pending visa case; and
- have paid the immigrant visa processing fee.
Again, if you would like to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver,
you must also be able to show how being denied admission to the U.S. would
cause extreme hardship to your family member who is a U.S. citizen, and
be physically present in the country to file an application for the waiver.
Sarah S. Rama, ESQ., LL.M. can help!
At Sarah S. Rama, ESQ., LL.M. we have a great deal of experience helping
clients navigate through the steps of obtaining a provisional unlawful
presence waiver from the U.S. government. We can explain everything you
need to know about the process, including eligibility requirements, how
to complete the Form I–601A, and how to troubleshoot if the process
doesn’t go smoothly. We can also help you apply if you are in removal
To learn more about the ways we can help you through the provisional unlawful
presence waiver process,
contact our Boston or West Palm Beach office. We are here for you and can help simplify complicated legal concepts
and terms, putting them into plain English in any language.