The I-601A Waiver Regulation will be Expanded as of August 29, 2016
On August 29th, a new regulation will go into effect that expands the number of people who will qualify for an I-601A waiver. The initial provisional I-601A waiver allowed certain individuals with an approved petition by a U.S. Citizen spouse or parent to obtain a waiver in the U.S for having remained unlawfully in the U.S., if they could prove that the qualifying U.S. Citizen spouse or parent would suffer an extreme hardship if the individual was removed from the U.S. The new expanded regulation will allow individuals with any approved immigration visa/ residency petition to obtain this provisional waiver in the U.S. as well. The provisional waiver has also been expanded to include Legal Permanent Resident spouses and parents as qualifying relatives for the hardship component, whereas the prior provisional waiver regulation limited qualifying family members to only U.S. citizen spouses and parents.
Previously, these individuals were required to obtain a waiver outside of the U.S., a process that generally took longer than one year and resulted in the lengthy separation of families. As with the initial I-601A waiver, this new waiver only pardons the penalty related to unlawful presence in the U.S. It does not provide a pardon for individuals who have committed certain criminal offenses, engaged in immigration fraud, or been issued a final order of deportation.
In order to have the I-601A waiver approved, the individual must provide evidence that their U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent (“qualifying family member”) will suffer an extreme hardship if the individual is not allowed to live in the United States. Extreme hardship generally requires that the qualifying relative suffer from a medical or emotional condition that requires treatment or care in the U.S. Although the hardship must be established for the qualifying family member, conditions of other immediate family members can also be used to prove extreme hardship to the qualifying member. For example, if a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse has a child with a medical issue (i.e. asthma, ADHD, learning disability) and the child would not have access to the proper care and treatment outside of the U.S., the suffering of the child would also cause suffering to the qualifying spouse, and therefore, eligibility for the waiver could be established.
If the waiver is approved, the individual must still go to a U.S. consulate in order to obtain his or her green card. Currently, this process takes approximately 2 to 8 weeks of time outside the U.S. The waiver also allows open deportation/removal proceedings to be stopped once the waiver has been approved, meaning that an individual with an open deportation/removal process may apply, while a person with a final order of removal/deportation may not. This is a very important change to the regulations that will likely provide a significant immigration benefit to many families. It is important that you obtain assistance from a qualified immigration lawyer to evaluate whether an I-601A waiver is right for you and your family. If you would like legal assistance with an I-601A waiver or any immigration, criminal or personal injury matter, and you are in Massachusetts or surrounding areas, please call 617-303-2600 (ext. 0) and request an appointment with one of our highly qualified lawyers in Boston, MA.
Desmond P. FitzGerald,
And the FitzGerald Law Company Team