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" The law office of Jessie Thomas is the reason why and me and my wife are finally united together. Jessie made the entire marriage visa process a cake walk for me. She helped me bring my wife from Iran and I have never been so happy in my life. Thank you for the Swift communication, the hundreds of emails we sent to eachother and being by my side throughout this whole ordeal. We took baby steps and it paid off in the end. It is much appreciated and I just can't fathom doing this with you. Thank you!! "...More

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Provisional Unlawful Presence

Are you eligible to file
the I-601A form?

I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers | Law Office of Jessie M. Thomas


An I-601A unlawful presence waiver, sometimes called a "Provisional Stateside Waiver", is a way to overcome an immigration obstacle known as “unlawful presence”, the “3-year bar” or the “10-year bar” that makes it very risky for people who are in the United States to travel to their home country in order to obtain an immigrant visa that would enable them to become permanent residents and get green cards. Since March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are immediate relatives (spouses, children and parents) of U.S. citizens could apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they left the United States for their consular interview. On August 29, 2016, the provisional unlawful presence waiver process was expanded to all individuals statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa and a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the United States.

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This risk of traveling outside the United States for an immigrant visa interview is the result of how the 3-year bar and 10-year bar work. Briefly, this means that some people who entered the United States unlawfully can only get a green card by applying for an immigrant visa in their home country. However, as soon as they depart the United States for their visa interview they risk not being able to return to the United States for either 3 or 10 years depending on how much unlawful presence they have in the United States.

While people can apply for an I-601 hardship waiver while they are in their home country, the process is time consuming and most often leads to lengthy family separations. In addition, there is no guarantee that the waiver will be granted. If the waiver is denied, it may not be possible to return to the United States for 3 or 10 years. As a result, many people who would otherwise qualify for an immigrant visa do not apply for one. The risk of a 3 or 10 year family separation keeps them from making the trip outside of the United States for the visa interview.

The I-601A provisional waiver can help solve this problem by allowing certain people to apply for an unlawful presence waiver while still in the United States. This means that applicants will know before they depart the United States whether they will be able to get a waiver that will allow them to complete the immigrant visa process in their home country. If the I-601A waiver is granted, and all of the other immigrant visa requirements are met, many people should be able to get their immigrant visas and become permanent residents without having to go through a lengthy family separation.

Basic Requirements for an I-601A Provisional Waiver

Three main requirements for an I-601A provisional waiver are:

  • You have a “qualifying relative” who would experience extreme hardship if you are not granted the waiver
  • You show that you are deserving of a discretionary approval of the waiver
  • You have no other inadmissibility issues that could make you ineligible for an immigrant visa

On August 29, 2016, (the effective date of the final rule) the provisional unlawful presence waiver process was expanded to all individuals statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa and a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the United States. So basically, anyone who has an approved immigrant visa (I-130, I-140, diversity, I-360) AND who has a U.S. Citizen spouse or parent or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent AND can show “extreme hardship” if they were separated from the beneficiary may be eligible to apply for the I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.

Children, brothers, sisters and other relatives are not qualifying relatives for I-601A waivers.

Key points to keep in mind related to the extreme hardship requirement include:

  • To be granted a waiver, you need to show that your qualifying relative would experience hardship that is extreme compared to the hardship that is normally encountered when there is a family separation. It is not enough to simply show that your family will experience financial hardship. It is also not enough to just show that you or your qualifying relative will be very upset and heartbroken if you are forced to live apart.
  • You need to show that your qualifying relative will experience extreme hardship both if you are forced to live apart and if your relative were to relocate with you to your home country. It isn’t enough to show that you will experience extreme hardship. It is only the hardship that your qualifying relative will experience that will count.
  • You must submit evidence that will document the hardship that your qualifying relative will experience. Simply writing a “hardship letter” without providing evidence to support each of your hardship claims is not enough.

Before Beginning Your I-601A Provisional Waiver Application

Make sure that you understand the waiver application process and what it takes to win a waiver case before you begin your I-601A unlawful presence waiver application. After reviewing the requirements for your I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver call the Law Office of Jessie M. Thomas for a free case evaluation. You will have an opportunity to discuss your specific case and the options available to you with Jessie, an experienced immigration attorney.


At the Law Office of Jessie M. Thomas, we understand that some people desire experienced legal representation, but aren't financially able to pay upfront for their legal services. This is why we offer affordable pricing and a variety of payment options to fit your needs. Weekly, Bi-Weekly and Monthly payment plans are available for those that qualify.

Contact a DFW Immigration Attorney Today

We serve the immigration law needs of individuals throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex, including Plano, Dallas, Richardson, Wylie, Irving, Garland, Mesquite, McKinney, Allen, Bedford, Euless, Arlington, Hurst, Keller, Carrollton, Lewisville, Grand Prairie, Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, Denton, Amarillo, Lubbock and Sherman.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your case with you. With locations in Richardson, Texas and Wylie, Texas we are easily accessible to anyone in the North Texas area. Visit our locations pages for contact details and directions or send us an .

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