Many are still waiting for further news on the Provisional I-601A Extreme Hardship Waiver. To date, the I-601A waiver is not yet in place, but USCIS still anticipates the proposed regulation to be complete by the end of the year.
Background: I-601A Provisional Waiver
On March 30, 2012, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requested public comments on a plan to implement an important change in the current application process for people who accrued unlawful presence in the United States. The current system requires the applicant to step outside the US for the visa interview, get denied, and then file for the extreme hardship waiver, causing a long delay in reunification with loved ones until the waiver is approved.
The new I-601A extreme hardship waiver would permit an applicant to remain in the United States prior to the completion of the visa application process, file the waiver application in the US, and hopefully get an approval, whereby the applicant would then step out of the country for the visa interview. The applicant could however, return quickly because the waiver has already been completed.
All applicants for the regular I-601 or the I-601A must demonstrate that separation from a qualifying relative—usually a spouse or parent—would cause extreme hardship, hence the name of the waiver.
A provisional waiver is different than the current I-601 process that recently changed the location of the waivers from abroad, to the new USCIS Lockbox stateside. Essentially, the provisional waiver allows people to remain in the United States during adjudication.
The provisional I-601 extreme hardship waiver will only be applicable to certain persons currently in the United States. Its goal is to streamline the visa application process and to prevent people from being separated from their close relatives for long periods of time during the process. It will reduce the time that immediate relatives must spend apart from each other, but will not completely remove the requirement to leave the United States before changing the applicant’s legal status.
All potential applicants should contact an experienced Denver immigration lawyer to discuss the I-601A provisional waiver based on extreme hardship.