Provisional Waivers Offer a Legal Way to Change Status of Citizenship

The Department of Homeland Security provides the ability for some qualifying individuals to be provided with provisional waivers. This allows for immediate family members to simplify the immigration process, allowing them to be reunited with their loved ones in a much timelier manner than before. The provisional waiver is also known as form I-601A. It offers a legal way to change status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Eligible Family Members

Only eligible family members can apply for a provisional waiver. The previous rule only included a U.S. citizen spouse or child who is under the age of 21. The new rule, which goes into effect on Aug. 29, 2016, expands eligibility for the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility including permanent resident qualifying relatives. Family members can apply and get their waiver in the U.S. and the interview will be conducted abroad. This is called a consular interview. Then, the family can return to the U.S. This provides for families to be apart for the shortest length of time possible during the visa application process.

Purpose of the Provisional Waiver

The purpose of the provisional waiver is to provide for family members who are in the United States illegally. Unlawful presence requires deportation, which will separate families. Without the waiver, family members who were unlawfully present in the U.S. are not eligible to qualify for green cards. The waiver gives special permission to remove the ban, thus allowing them to be able to return to the U.S. under a legal visa status.

Requirements for Application

The USCIS provides specific guidelines for application for a provisional waiver. Not everyone is eligible to get one. In order to apply, applicants must be at least 17 years old and living in the United States. Additionally, you may not apply for a provisional waiver if you have already been disqualified from obtaining a visa for other reasons. For example, if you were ordered to be removed for criminal activity, fraud, or other problems, you may not apply for a provisional waiver. If you are denied a provisional waiver, you should speak with an immigration attorney to learn what options may be available to you.

Get Legal Help

The laws and rules that apply to visa applications, including provisional waivers, change from time to time. The immigration process can be complex. For these reasons, it is important to discuss your situation with a skilled immigration attorney before submitting an application. Your attorney knows the latest guidelines and will help ensure that you apply for the type of visa or waiver that is best for your situation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Provisional Waivers, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.