I-601A: Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

What is Form I 601A?

Since March 4th, 2013, qualified inadmissible immigrants have the option to file I-601A to request a waiver of unlawful presence in the United States and potentially receive a green card through family. Applicants are eligible as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Have relatives who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who would suffer if the applicant is out of the country. Examples include relatives in the armed forces, relatives in medical treatment, and disabled relatives who require care.
  • Be in the approval process of I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, or I-360 Petition for Special Immigrant
  • Be present in the U.S.
  • Have spent 180 cumulative days in the U.S.


Additionally, on August 29th, 2016, the USCIS further changed the eligibility to applicants statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa and a waiver for inadmissibility for unlawful presence.

Expansion of the waiver application is a positive indication of more open U.S. immigration policy allowing families to be separated for a shorter duration during the immigration process. However, applicants should take note the benefits extend to only qualified applicants. Ineligible applicants must travel outside the U.S. to obtain a valid U.S. immigration visa. For applicants who have stayed in the U.S. for more than 180 cumulative days must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility under the section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


What are Form I-601A Instructions?

The filing fee is $630. For applicants under the age of 79, there is a mandatory biometrics service fee of $85. Applicants under certain financial circumstances can file a fee waiver form (I-912) to waive the filing and biometric fees. An example of valid circumstance is an individual living at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines.


To file the application, mail a completed form with supporting documents to a USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago. The mailing address will vary depending on the postal carrier:


U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
P.O. Box 4599
Chicago, IL 60680

Commercial Postal Service
Attn: I-601A
131 S. Dearborn, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

While an approved I-601A will shorten the time the applicant must be outside of the U.S., an approval does not guarantee a green card. Applicants must follow the immigrations steps to receive a green card through family. Furthermore, applicants must still leave the United States for a duration before entering the country again.


What is the Difference between I-601 and I-601A Forms?

Similar to I- 601, I-601A: Application For Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is to waive the potential penalty for entering the United States without proper visas. However, there are few key differences between two forms. Applicants attempting the remove inadmissible status must use the correct petition form.


I-601: Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

  • Applicants must submit the form from outside of the United States.
  • Applicants must wait for an approval outside of the U.S. Applicants are prohibited from entering the country. Those who enter the country without an approval may be subject to a deportation.
  • Both U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be qualifying residents.
  • Applicants may submit accompanying waivers with I-601. An example is a fee waiver form (I-912).


I-601A: Application For Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

  • Applicants must submit the form while staying in the United States.
  • Applicants are permitted to reside in the U.S. during the decision process.
  • Only U.S. citizens may be qualifying residents.
  • Applicants must submit I-601A alone.

What is the Latest Form I-601A Edition?

The latest edition of Form I-601A is the October 26, 2020 edition.

What are the Required Documents for Form I-601A?

1) Valid passport;
2) Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver;
3) Two passport-style photographs;
4) A copy of a government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or national identification card;
5) Proof of relationship to a qualifying relative;
6) Evidence of payment for the application processing fee;
7) Evidence of lawful admission or parole into the United States;
8) Evidence of all unlawful presence in the United States; and
9) A copy of a valid Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

How to Submit Form I-601A?

To submit your Form I-601A, you will need to gather the required documents and information and send them to the address provided on the form. Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Gather your required documents and information. These include your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), evidence of your qualifying relationship with a qualifying U.S. relative, proof of all financial support received from the qualifying relative, evidence of any public charge ineligibility, and any other relevant supporting documents.

2. Fill out Form I-601A completely, including all required signatures, and make sure the address matches the one listed on the form.

3. Gather your filing fee payment and include it with your application. The filing fee for Form I-601A is currently $930 USD.

4. Make sure to include two passport-style photos of yourself with your application.

5. Send the application package to the address provided on the form. If you are using regular mail, make sure to include a prepaid express mail or courier delivery receipt with your application to ensure it gets delivered successfully.

6. After sending in your application package, you should receive a receipt notice confirming that USCIS has accepted your application for processing.

7. Once your application has been processed, an immigration officer will contact you with a decision about your case.

What are the Filing Tips for Form I-601A?

1. Carefully read all instructions for the Form I-601A before you begin filling it out.

2. Gather all the necessary documentation, such as evidence of a qualifying family relationship, proof of the extreme hardship that would be suffered if the waiver was not granted, and documentation of the applicant’s good moral character.

3. Make sure you fill out all parts of the form completely and accurately. Make copies of all documents prior to submitting them to USCIS.

4. Calculate the filing fee and submit it with the form.

5. Submit the completed form, fee, and supporting documents to the USCIS address provided on Form I-601A instructions.

6. Check your case status online with USCIS or call the National Customer Service Center to check your case status by phone.

Are There Special Instructions for Form I-601A?

Yes, there are special instructions for Form I-601A. The instructions for Form I-601A can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. To view the instructions, navigate to the USCIS website and select the “Forms” page. Scroll down to find Form I-601A and select “Instructions” from the drop-down menu. On this page, you will find a complete list of instructions for filing Form I-601A, including information on eligibility, documents required, and instructions for submitting the form.

What is the Form I-601A Fee?

The Form I-601A fee is a payment made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain applications for “provisional unlawful presence waivers.” It is currently $630, which includes a biometrics fee of $85.

Can I Apply for Form I-601A Fee Waiver or Reduction?

No, you cannot apply for a Form I-601A fee waiver or reduction. The Form I-601A application is for those applying for a waiver of the unlawful presence penalty. The fee waiver/reduction is only available to those who can demonstrate that they are unable to pay the fee. You will need to submit supporting documents with your application to demonstrate that you qualify for the fee waiver.

What is the Form I-601A Processing Time?

The processing time for Form I-601A can vary depending on the individual case. Generally, it can take anywhere from four to six months for the application to be processed and a decision to be made. It is important to keep in mind that there may be additional delays due to a variety of factors.

Form I-601A Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Form I-601A?
A: Form I-601A is an application for individuals in the United States who are seeking a provisional unlawful presence waiver. This waiver allows individuals who are otherwise ineligible for permanent residence due to periods of unlawful presence in the United States to temporarily remain in the country and pursue their green card application. This form must be completed and submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for processing.

Q: Who can apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver?
A: An individual must meet certain requirements to be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. Eligibility requirements include: having an approved Form I-130 or Form I-360 petition, having an immigrant visa interview scheduled at a US embassy or consulate, having an immediate relative who is a US citizen, and being able to demonstrate that denying the waiver would create extreme hardship for their US citizen relative.

Q: What documents do I need to submit with my application?
A: When submitting Form I-601A, you will need to include copies of certain documents that demonstrate your eligibility. These documents can include evidence of your approved petition, evidence of your relationship to the US citizen relative, and evidence of extreme hardship if the waiver is denied. Additionally, you must also provide proof of payment for the filing fee and biometrics fee (if applicable).

Q: How long does it take to process a Form I-601A?
A: Processing times for Form I-601A vary depending on case load and other factors. Generally, USCIS can take up to 6 months from the date the application was received to process the form. However, in some cases it may take longer or shorter time depending on your individual case.