Numerous immigrants currently living in California and other areas of the United States who are immediate relatives of citizens, but who have not yet obtained the appropriate documents to remain in the country, may be required to return to their native countries in order to interview for immigration visas. The thought of being separated from one’s family is understandably frightening. It may be possible to shorten the length of separation by filing for Unlawful Presence Waivers before leaving the country.

Current laws require that immigrant relatives of U.S. citizens return to their native countries in order to attend visa interviews at their local embassies or consulates. Before departure, these individuals, if they have already been established as direct relatives of citizens of the United States and have paid the appropriate immigration visa fees, may apply for Unlawful Presence Waivers. Following the instructions carefully is vitally important when filling out these forms, as even the tiniest of errors can result in an application’s rejection.

The application needed to request a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is called a I-601A. This form, once completed, will need to be sent to the correct address, with the appropriate filing fee included. After these items are received, petitioners will receive some form of notification, usually through a text message or email, that the application has been accepted.

There are certain steps immigrants can take when submitting applications for Unlawful Presence Waivers in order to improve the odds of acceptance and approval. These include filling out the form in its entirety, ensuring all information is current and accurate, and sending a copy of the visa immigration fee receipt. Whether one resides in California or elsewhere, legal assistance is available and may prove valuable when working through this process.

Source: uscis.gov, “I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver“, Accessed on June 15, 2015