On August 29, 2016, USCIS will make several changes to the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (“I-601A waiver”) that are beneficial to immigrants. There are three key changes that may impact our clients.
First, USCIS will expand the category of individuals that can apply for the I-601A waiver. Currently, only individuals with a United States Citizen (“USC”) spouse or parent are eligible for the I-601A waiver. On August 29, 2016, individuals with a Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) spouse or parent can also apply for the I-601A waiver.
Second, on August 29, 2016, individuals with final orders of removal, department, or exclusion are allowed to apply for the I-601A waiver. Individuals with a voluntary departure order, however, are ineligible.
Finally, USCIS is removing the reason to believe standard as a basis for ineligibility for the I-601A waiver. This is an important change. Currently, USCIS will deny a I-601A waiver if it has reason to believe that the individual will be denied at the consular post for an inadmissibility basis other than unlawful presence. On August 29, 2016, USCIS will no longer make such a determination when adjudicating the I-601A waiver. Thereby, it is important for an individual to contact an experienced immigration attorney to discuss their particular situation because there is a risk that an individual with an approved I-601A waiver will be stranded outside of the United States based on an inadmissibility ground other than unlawful presence.