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El Perdon: The unlawful presence provisional I601A waiver


What is the 601A Unlawful Presence Waiver?

It is a waiver to overcome “unlawful presence” which accrues when someone is not authorized to be in the United States. Depending on how long someone has been in the United States accruing unlawful presence (without documents), they risk having to spend three years or ten years in their home country.

How is this waiver different than the 601 Waiver?

The 601A, introduced in March 2013, applies ONLY to unlawful presence and it may be filed in the United States.  If the applicant as other grounds of inadmissibility, they will have to apply for the 601 waiver which covers additional ground of inadmissibility. Previously, everyone with unlawful presence had to return to their home country before submitting the waiver. Once abroad, the wait was 6 months to 2 years. Currently, the 601A provisional waiver may be filed while the applicant is still in the United States.


Who qualifies to submit a 601A waiver?

There are 3 main qualifications:

  1. You have a “Qualifying Relative” who would suffer extreme hardship if you are not granted a waiver.
  2. You must show that you deserve the waiver as a matter of discretion.
  3. Your only ground of inadmissibility is the unlawful presence.


Who is a “Qualifying Relative”? Do my children count?

Only certain relatives are officially qualifying relatives under current law:

  • -United States Citizen spouse or parents
  • -Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parents **Update: As of August 29, 2016, these relatives will also be qualifying relatives for the 601A wiaver
  • -Children, United States Citizens included, are not qualifying relatives

What is Extreme Hardship?

For your waiver application to be granted, you need to show that your qualifying relative would experience hardship that is extreme compared to the hardship that is normally encountered when a family is separated. 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 also have to demonstrate why your family cannot move to your home country. You must submit evidence that will document the hardship that your qualifying relative will experience.

Do I have to leave the country?

While the 601A waiver is processing you may remain in the United States. If your waiver is approved, you must return to your country to complete the processing of your case. You can expect to be out of the country for approximately 2 to 4 weeks.

Benefits to working with an Attorney: While it is possible to submit the waiver packet on your own, these are the benefits of working with an attorney:

  • An objective look at the hardship factors in your case.
  • Experience in gathering, preparing and submitting relevant documentation.
  • Someone to answer your specific questions and guide you through the process.

Cristina is experienced in waiver cases.  To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, please call (775) 453-4451 or e-mail


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Hughes Law Group PC

111 S. Division Street
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