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NEW - Provisional Waiver I-601A

Important Instructions for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A) Applicants

Important Instructions for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A) Applicants

About the new waiver

On January 2nd, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens present in the United States, who are in the process of seeking immigrant visas with the Department of State to become lawful U.S. permanent residents, may apply and be approved for provisional unlawful presence I-601A waivers before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews. USCIS began accepting I-601A applications on March 4th, 2013. 

Please review the necessary qualifications carefully. Relatives of Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to apply for this provisional waiver. If you do not meet the qualifications, you should appear for your scheduled immigrant visa interview. Failure to do so will significantly delay your case. 

If you would like to apply for an I-601A waiver, please take the following steps:

STEP 1 - Review the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver News Release on the USCIS Website to decide if you meet the requirements. If you do, you may choose to apply for an I-601A waiver in accordance with the instructions on the USCIS webpage.  If you wish to review the complete final rule that was published on the Federal Register, you may do so here.

STEP 2 - Notify the National Visa Center (NVC):  If you have a pending immigrant visa case at NVC, you must notify NVC of your intention to apply for an I-601A waiver. If you do not notify NVC before you apply for the I-601A waiver, your case may be scheduled for an interview. 

NOTE: Applicants with an interview appointment letter from NVC dated before January 3rd, 2013 are not eligible to file the I-601A. Only applicants scheduled by NVC on or after January 3rd, 2013 for an upcoming initial immigrant visa interview are eligible to apply for the I-601A. “Scheduled” means the date on which NVC took action to schedule the case – not the date of the visa interview appointment. NVC dates interview appointment letters on the day it schedules a case, so refer to the appointment notification letter to see when NVC took scheduling action.

1.  When do I notify the NVC?

Notify NVC immediately after you have paid the immigrant visa processing fee and before you apply for the I-601A. NVC will schedule your immigrant visa interview after USCIS has finished processing your application.

2.  How do I notify the NVC?

If you need to contact the National Visa Center, please send an email to:  NVCi601a@state.gov

  • Enter the applicant’s NVC Case Number or USCIS Receipt Number in the Subject Line of the email.
  • Provide the applicant’s name and date of birth and the petitioner’s name and date of birth.
  • Provide the attorney of record’s name, law firm, and address (if applicable). 
  • Include a statement that the applicant is applying for the I-601A waiver with USCIS. 
  • NOTE: Applicants with an interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center dated before January 3rd, 2013 are not eligible to file the I-601A. Only applicants scheduled by the National Visa Center on or after January 3rd, 2013 for an upcoming initial immigrant visa interview are eligible to apply for the I-601A. “Scheduled” means the date on which NVC took the action to schedule the case – not the date of the visa interview appointment. NVC dates interview appointment letters on the day it schedules a case, so refer to the appointment notification letter to see when NVC took the scheduling action. 

3.  What does my notification to the NVC do?

Your notification directs the NVC not to schedule your immigrant visa interview appointment until USCIS has processed your provisional unlawful presence waiver application.

4.  What happens if I forget to notify the NVC?

If you do not notify the NVC, your case may be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, which will delay processing of your immigrant visa application once USCIS has finished processing your I-601A application.

5. What happens if NVC has already scheduled my interview at the Consulate?

If NVC has already scheduled your appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez you do not need to reschedule. Once the Consulate receives your waiver approval from USCIS the Consulate will send you a letter informing you of how to make a new appointment. If your waiver is refused or if you decide to continue with your case before USCIS has finished processing your waiver, please contact the Applicant Service Center to schedule a new appointment here.

Please note that in accordance with INA 203(g) 42.83, failure to take action on your case within one year may prompt termination proceedings.

6.  What will happen during the visa interview at the Consulate if the consular officer determines that I have other visa ineligibilities?

If the consular officer determines at your immigrant visa interview that you have other ineligibilities (grounds of inadmissibility or are otherwise not eligible for the visa) beyond unlawful presence, the USCIS approved provisional waiver is automatically revoked. Learn more on the USCIS Website.