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I-601 Waiver Stateside

UPDATE: JANUARY 2, 2013 – Immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining a visa can now apply for a provisional waiver here in the states (I-601A)! This applies to all foreign nationals, not just Mexicans! The final process will be announced by March 4, 2013, when the new regulation takes effect.

Although the immediate relative must still go to their home country to get their visa, they do not have to wait in their home country for the waiver to be approved, which is most cases was for six to nine months. Families will now only have to be separated for a short period of time while their visa is approved!

On January 6, 2012, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a notice of intent to change the procedure for I-601 waivers that currently require foreign nationals seeking an I-601 waiver to apply at the consulate and and wait in their home country. This caused many foreign nationals to separate from their families for up to a year while the waiver was being adjudicated.

USCIS stated

“Currently, spouses and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States, and have to leave the country as part of the legal immigration process, are barred from returning to their families for as long as 3 or 10 years. They can receive a waiver to allow them to return to their families by showing that their U.S. citizen family member would face extreme hardship as a result of the separation.”

As a result, USCIS is proposing that the applicant be allowed to apply for the waiver while in the United States, thereby eliminating the need to wait outside the country while a decision is made on the waiver.


However, this rule is not yet in effect. IT WILL NOT BE IN EFFECT UNTIL 2013 and at first, it will only apply to MEXICAN NATIONALS. Also, the spouse or children of the United States citizen who are using this waiver for unlawful presence ONLY will be allowed to apply while still in the United States. If someone is applying for the waiver for some other reason besides unlawful presence, this change is law will not apply to them.

USCIS stated “With the change outlined in the notice, individuals who currently qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility under the existing eligibility standards, and who can demonstrate that separation from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent would cause extreme hardship to that relative, would be allowed to apply for a waiver while still in the U.S.”

The notice can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=95356a0d87aa4310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=8a2f6d26d17df110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD

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