For many months now, we have been awaiting a change in the waiver process. It is finally final! The provisional waiver for i-601 (or the i-601a) rule goes into effect March 4, 2013.
Whom does it affect?
This affects spouses of US citizens who entered the US unlawfully. Spouses of LPRs are not yet covered. This may change in the future, but as of today, they will have to go through the old processing route.
What is the change?
Whereas before, the applicants had to go overseas to their country to file the final waiver. Now, they can go overseas with an initial approval from the United States. This significantly reduces the anguish and stress of going overseas and the fear of not being able to return. It also cuts down on the amount of time that applicants must spend overseas.
What does not change?
The standard remains the same. I-601 waivers are judged by the same standards they have always been judged on. The standard of Extreme Hardship to a qualifying relative. To learn more about this standard, Click Here.
How can we help?
We can help you file I-601 waivers of unlawful presence no matter where you live in the country. Simply contact us for a free consultation.
When should you start filing the petition to take advantage of this provisional waiver?
Ideally you should contact an attorney before beginning the I-130. The reason is this: the preparation for waivers is extensive and you need the time to be able to prepare. If you begin the I-130 right now, you will mostly be able to take advantage of the i-601 / i-601a provisional waiver. If you are at the NVC stage (which is the 2nd stage) you will likely still be able to take advantage of it. However, if you already have your appointment scheduled for interview, or if your interview is scheduled BEFORE March 4, 2013, you will not be able to take advantage of this provisional waiver.
How you can get more information?
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Other important points
Remember that the provisional waiver is only for spouses of US Citizens. So far, not for spouses of permanent residents, or children of permanent residents or citizens.
Also, a common misunderstanding is that one does not have to leave the country at all. This is false. There is a need to leave the country after the provisional approval, but the departure will be for a short period of time (weeks, instead of months or years), and you will go knowing for sure that unless something changes, you will be able to return legally and obtain a green card.h
Historically, Mexico has had a relatively high approval rate, whereas the approval rates for countries like China are notoriously low. Having a provisional waiver determined in the United States ensures efficiency as well as fair and balanced adjudication for those of other countries. Therefore this is particularly useful for those who are citizens of countries other than Mexico.
Keep in mind that many people have been awaiting this change in the process. The sooner you get started, the better. I-601 waivers are VERY COMPLEX and hiring a competent and experienced attorney greatly improves chances of success.