On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a final administrative rule that will significantly expand the availability of provisional unlawful presence waivers (commonly known as I-601A waivers). The new rule goes into effect on August 29, 2016.
Foreign nationals who enter the United States illegally, are barred from becoming lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”) through the adjustment of status process. Instead, in order to become LPRs, they must leave the United States and apply for an immigrant visa at an American embassy or consulate.
However, by leaving the United States, these individuals become inadmissible to the United States based on the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIRIRA”). Under IIRIRA, foreign nationals who voluntarily depart the United States after being unlawfully present for more than 180 days, are barred from re-entering the country for a period of either 3 or 10 years. (The time period is determined based on whether or not the foreign national was unlawfully present for more than one year.)