Unlawful Presence Waiver: A Path for Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain a Green Card

Many undocumented immigrants live under constant threat of deportation. Fears of deportation are very high today because of the current political climate. Immigrants may be hesitant to seek employment, to drive a car, or even to go outside, because they fear being arrested, detained, and/or deported. The possibility of deportation is also a hardship for the immigrant’s spouse and children who cannot imagine their lives without their loved one. 

Fortunately, it is possible for some undocumented immigrants to receive a green card even though they have entered the country without papers. Immigrants who have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can apply for what is called a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (Form I-601a), which helps them to eventually receive a green card. 

Applying for this kind of waiver helps because the immigrant can remain in the U.S. with their family while the legal process plays out. When applying, it is important to show that the U.S. Citizen or permanent resident will experience “extreme hardship” if their spouse (or child) is forced to leave the United States. For example, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident may experience financial hardship or trouble paying for their bills without the help of their spouse. The U.S. citizen or resident might, in the absence of their spouse, experience medical hardship such as depression or anxiety or issues with controlling their medical problems. It may be a hardship for the immigrant’s spouse and children to resettle in the immigrant’s country of origin because of the violent or poor conditions present. 

At Golden & Jernigan, we give special attention to the specific hardships of each case to make a strong and compelling argument for why an illegal immigrant should be permitted to stay in this country. This caring and careful approach has helped us achieve legal status for well over 90% of undocumented immigrants who have applied for this unlawful presence waiver through our law firm (see graph below). Although we cannot predict future outcomes, we will do everything in our power to keep your family together in the United States.

Unlawful Presence Waiver success