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When is an I-601A Waiver Needed for Unlawful Presence?

When is an I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Needed?

When a person has unlawful presence in the US, he or she often will need a 601 or form i-601A waiver. What is unlawful presence? The Immigration Nationality Act defines three categories that all begin to count after April 1, 1997. First, if a person has unlawfully entered the USA and stayed here for more than 180 days, but less than 1 year, they would be unable to enter the US for 3 years.

If a person enters unlawfully and stays here for more than 1 year, they are unable to re-enter the USA for more than 10 year. Lastly, if a person enters the USA for more than 1 year, or gets deported, and then unlawfully re-enters, they are unable to enter the USA for 10 years. The last category, however, does not allow for a waiver. The first two, do. It is important to note, that unlawful presence is not triggered until you exit the United States.

If you are undocumented in the USA, contact our experienced immigration attorneys at (559) 777-6587 to get an in depth analysis in your case and see if you can apply for a waiver!

What is the I-601A Waiver Process with USCIS like?

Applying for an I-601A Waiver through USCIS can be a complex process. First, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and have an approved immigrant visa petition. The applicant must also be eligible for an adjustment of status and have unlawful presence in the United States. To begin the process, the applicant must file Form I-601A and pay the filing fee. The next step involves biometrics and waiting for USCIS to review the application. If the waiver is approved, the applicant can then apply for a provisional waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence. Once the waiver is approved, the applicant can continue with the immigrant visa process through the Department of State and pay the immigrant visa processing fee.

The process of applying for an unlawful presence waiver can be complex and requires careful preparation of documentation and evidence. It is recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome. Additionally, the timeline to get lawful permanent resident status will take many years.

Overstaying on an Immigrant Visa

Some people enter the US with a visa and overstay. Usually if they never leave the US, aside from the overstay consequences, they won't accumulate any new immigration bars. However, if they do leave, they could be forced to wait outside the US for several years.

If it does become a problem, a filing for provisional unlawful presence waiver might be needed. An unlawful presence waiver, also known as a waiver of inadmissibility, is a request for permission to re-enter the US after being unlawfully present in the country. This waiver is needed for individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the US and then leave the country.

Overall, an unlawful presence waiver can be crucial for individuals who have overstayed their visa and are seeking to re-enter the US legally. It is important to follow the proper procedures and requirements to avoid complications in the immigration process. It is important to note that the 601A waiver only forgives certain grounds of inadmissibility. It does not forgive the permanent bar.

What is the Permanent Bar and can I Apply for a Waiver?

The permanent bar may apply to a person if that person after April 1, 1997:

  1. left the United States after being unlawfully present for more than 1 year in the USA, left the United States and re-entered the USA undocumented, or
  2. Left the United States after being deported/removed, and re-entered the USA undocumented.


Neither Form I-601 or Form I-601a provisional waiver, forgive the permanent bar. Unfortunately, there is generally no waiver application or waiver process to overcome this permanent bar.

Feel free to contact our experienced law firm to get the help you need: 559-777-6587!

Waiver Legal Resources

1. USCIS 601A Form

2. USCIS Provisional Waiver

3. Federal Regulations

4. ILRC 601A Information