i 601a Instructions: Everything You Need to Know
I-601A instructions are imperative to follow so that the USCIS is more likely to accept your application for processing. 9 min read
I-601A instructions are imperative to follow so that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is more likely to accept your application for processing. Specific instructions include providing the Alien Registration Number or “A” number, if applicable, the applicant’s biographical details, information about the immigrant visa case, and details about the qualifying relative.
Filling Out Form I-601A to Request a Provisional Waiver
I-601A is better known as Form I-601A, and its title is “Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.” Many people simply call it the “stateside waiver,” and it is downloadable via the USCIS website.
What Form I-601A Is Used For
As a special waiver-request form, I-601A is like the more general I-601 and applies for any immigrant who applies for a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome an obstacle in getting a green card. Both I-601 and I-601A are applicable to overcoming the 3-year/10-year illegal presence bar, and both require that the applicant show that a qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship if they are not given re-entry to the United States before the 3 or 10 years go by.
The person applying for it should also be aware of the differences between Forms I-601 and I-601A:
Who files the waiver
Immigrants filing the I-601 waiver must have a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens file the I-601A waiver, as per current laws.
What you file
I-601 waiver applicants file the regular waiver on I-601.
I-601A waiver applicants file the provisional waiver on I-601A.
When to submit the form
Submit Form I-601A before departing the U.S.
Submit Form I-601 after the applicant departs the U.S.
The filing process
You can file I-601 with an immigrant visa or K visa.
You can file I-601A only with an immigrant visa.
What the form waives
Form I-601 waives additional inadmissibility factors, including immigration fraud and convictions.
Form I-601A waives only the 3/10-year ban.
Part 1 – Information About the Applicant
The Applicant's Identification Information is the first part of the form. The first question is Alien Registration Number, which is also known as an “A” number. It identifies a person who has a record in the immigration system.
If the person applying has ever been part of a removal, exclusion or deportation proceeding, or has been given a Notice to Appear, an Order to Show Cause, or a Notice to Applicant for Admission Detained for Hearing Before an IJ (immigration judge), this person will have an “A” number. The “A” is a red flag that the applicant may not be admissible because of a previous order (removal, deportation, or exclusion order), which can make this individual ineligible for a provisional waiver.
If the person has an “A” number, it may reflect an applicant is inadmissible because of an unlawful presence or for another reason. Determine the reason for the grounds of inadmissibility by using any of these methods: (a) Call the Executive Office of Immigration Review, (b) File a Freedom of Information Act, or (c) File an FBI Criminal Records Check. The next section is for the applicant’s physical address.
The second question asks whether the person applying has a valid Social Security card in their name from the Social Security Administration. If so, add the number there. Question 3 prompts you for a USCIS Online Account Number, which the applicant should have if they have previously filed an application or petition online with the USCIS. Question 4 is to provide the full name of the applicant; this is the full legal name, including middle name. In some cases, this name is from the birth certificate while other times it is the married name or name resulting from a legal name change.
For questions 5 and 6, fill out any other names used or applicable only if the applicant has used other names, such as a maiden name, a nickname, or a different name provided to an employer or law enforcement officer at any time. If no other names have been used, simply write “N/A” in this part of the form.
Question 7 asks for the mailing address of the applicant. This is the desired address for receiving any USCIS correspondence about the application. For apartment residents, always include apartment numbers in this address. The next questions (8 and 9) are for the applicant’s physical address of residence, regardless of whether or not mail is received there. In order to receive a professional waiver in the U.S., provide a physical address. Rest assured that this info will not be used by the Department of Homeland Security to deport immigrants, except if they are criminals or threaten public safety.
In question 10, supply the gender (male or female). Question 11 is for the applicant’s date of birth and the correct format to supply it is month/day/year. Double-check that the date supplied in question 11 is identical to the birth date on the applicant’s birth certificate or marriage certificate, passport, or other ID. Next, provide the applicant’s birthplace details for questions 12 and 13; provide the city and country of birth.
Question 14 asks for the applicant’s country of citizenship or nationality. If no citizenship exists then write “stateless” and explain why in Part 9. Then, for questions 15 and 16, the applicant provides the full legal name of each parent. Questions 17-19 pertain to the applicant’s last entry into the U.S. including the date, place, and type of entry or immigration status, which likely is “Entry Without Inspection” (EWI). For the place, provide both the city and state names.
Questions 20-26 pertain to the details of the applicant’s entries to the U.S. These previous entries are issues if the applicant committed EWI more than one time. The potential result is a permanent bar to United States immigration, in which case no waiver is available.
The applicant must answer questions honestly about previous crimes, immigration fraud or violations, and other inadmissibility issues for other reasons than illegal presence in questions 27-44. Should the applicant currently be in exclusion, removal, or deportation proceedings, for which no final order has yet been issued, answer “yes” to question 27. If this is not the case or the final order has already been issued, the applicant puts “No” and goes on to question 29a.
If the immigration proceedings have not had a final order issued and the applicant gets the IJ to close the case administratively, then check off question 28a. If, however, the applicant is in an immigration proceeding and the case has not been administratively closed or the case was closed but the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) afterward put the proceedings back on its calendar, check question 28b.
For question 29a, if the applicant is presently in exclusion, removal, or deportation hearings when a final order is issued, then mark the “Yes” box. If, instead, the person who departed the U.S. after a final order got issued is no longer deemed in immigration proceedings, then check “No” on question 29a. For question 30, the applicant must indicate whether they have been served a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-871 to reinstate a previous order of removal, deportation, or exclusion.
In question 32, the applicant answers “Yes” or “No” to whether he or she voluntarily and knowingly gave incorrect information to DHS, a Department of State, or another government official to get U.S. entry or admission or for an immigration benefit. The I-601A instructions are to check “Yes” to question 33 if the applicant helped another person enter the U.S. illegally or abroad; otherwise, check “No.”
If the applicant got arrested, detained, or cited in the United States or overseas for any reason other than a traffic violation, answer “Yes” to question 34. If the answer is “Yes,” then attach an event description that includes the date and place. Question 35 asks if the applicant was charged, convicted, put in jail, or indicted for a crime or offense (U.S. or abroad); answer “Yes” or “No.” Questions 36 and 37 ask whether the applicant is currently trafficking a controlled substance or is assisting, abetting, conspiring, or colluding with others in trafficking, or has done so previously.
Question 38 is a “Yes” if the applicant currently or has ever been “engaged in prostitution.” This phrase refers to being involved in this activity for a period of 10 years. Applicants are not admissible if they are either: (a) coming to the U.S. to participate in prostitution or were engaged in prostitution within the past 10 years of their visa application date, and (b) buyers of prostitutes or receiving prostitution-related proceeds, or people who attempt to procure or have done any of these activities in the last 10 years of an application for a visa, status adjustment, or U.S. entry.
For question 39, answer “Yes” or “No” as to whether the applicant has ever incited, called for, ordered, committed, helped with, or otherwise participated in human rights violations involving genocide, torture, killing, intentionally or significantly injuring a person, been involved in sexual conduct or relations with a person being forced or threatened, or limited or denied someone else’s ability to apply their religious beliefs.
Questions 40 through 45 are about previous service in military units, paramilitary groups, or guerrilla groups, as well as prior work in jails, detention centers, or prison camps. This group of questions also pertains to weapon use or sale, weapon training, and the use of kids 14 years old or younger in armed forces or to participate in hostilities. If the applicant participated in terrorist acts, answer “Yes” to question 45 and explain this activity in Part 9.
Part 2 – Information About the Applicant
Provide the applicant’s biographical details on questions 1 through 6. These details include:
- Height (Avoid the metric system)
- Weight (Don’t use the metric system)
- Eye color
- Hair color
Part 3 – Information About the Immigrant Visa Case
Here are the I-601A instructions for Part 3. Question 1 has parts a through e, and they relate to circumstances surrounding the applicant’s immigration. If this person is a DV selectee or derivative, enter the Department of State DV case number in question 2 (parts a through d). If this applicant is the recipient of a family-based petition, a job-based petition, a widow self-petition, or a VAWA self-petition, provide the USCIS receipt number of the approved petition in question 3a through 3f. It could be I-130, I-140, or I-360.
Part 4 – Information About the Qualifying Relative
The applicant’s qualifying relative is the subject of the next section. It includes:
- The name of the qualifying relative
- Relationship to applicant
- Other qualifying relative info
- Provide the applicant’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent
Part 5 – Statement From the Applicant
This statement from the applicant explains why the qualifying relative would have significant hardship if the waiver were not granted and why the applicant deserves a waiver in terms of discretion. For this section, write “See attached declaration of (applicant’s name).” In this declaration, include the name of the applicant and the USCIS receipt number or the “A” number of the applicant; this holds true also for any papers for the waiver envelope.
Part 6 – Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
In this part, the I-601A instructions are to provide the applicant’s contact details, including:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Sign the name following the penalty of perjury info
- Only an original signature will be accepted.
- A copy of a signature is not accepted.
- A parent or legal guardian can sign the form if the applicant lacks mental competence.
- Applicant must declare that he or she reads and comprehends English or used an interpreter, who read each question and instruction to the applicant, for filling out the form.
- If the applicant used a preparer to help provide the answers for the application, mark this box and have this person fill out Part 8.
- The applicant certifies that the photocopied documents are accurate and authorizes the release of info in the application or from the applicant’s records.
Part 7 – Interpreter’s Contract Information, Certification, and Signature
The interpreter has to sign a certification of fluency in English and the applicant’s language. The certification is also that the interpreter read every question on I-601A to the applicant and that the applicant comprehended the Q&A given. The interpreter must give his or her surname or business name, mailing address, and other contact details.
Part 8 – Preparer’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
The preparer of the application must list:
- First name
- Last name
- Mailing address
- Contact details
A signed Form G-28, titled Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, may also be necessary if the person who prepared the application is a BIA-certified representative or lawyer. Also, the preparer must acknowledge the information is prepared on the basis of information collected from the applicant in response to questions on the form or based on the preparer’s understanding. The preparer also signs and dates the application.
Part 9 – Additional Information
Space is also given to provide any extra details related to the application. The applicant can also use this part to attach a written statement that summarizes the request. For this latter part, many people find it easier to do with the help of a lawyer.
Other Information You’ll Need to Provide on Form I-601A
The last of the I-601A instructions is for the applicant to give the details about the petitioner. The petitioner is the employer or relative who filed the visa petition — or the applicant if it was self-petitioned — on Form I-360 or the DV (diversity visa) lottery.
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