The Difference between 245(i) and I-601a Waivers

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Hi, this is Kaushik Ranchod from The Ranchod Law Group for our weekly immigration video. Today we’re going to talk about a frequently asked question clients often ask during consultations, and that is:

What is the difference between the I-601a and 245(i)?

Before answering the question, I will talk about one of my favorite immigration legal tools: 245(i).

Why do I like 245(i) so much? Because it waives an illegal entry and prevents you from leaving the country. However, you need to be eligible for this. To be eligible for it, you needed to have been present in the United States on December 21st, 2000, and you also need to have had a petition filed for you before April 30th, 2001.

This could be a family-based petition or an employment-based petition. You have to meet those requirements, but they have to have been approved when filed. If you meet one of the requirements I mentioned earlier, it will waive an illegal entry if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, you had a petition filed for you on or before April 30th, 2001, and you were physically present on December 20th, 2000.

You can take advantage of 245(i) by applying for the marriage-based green card (adjustment of status) and 245(i) at the same time. Consequently, you will not need to leave the U.S.

That is different than the I-601a Waiver, which is still an awesome option. With an I-601a Waiver, you have to file for a Waiver showing extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse. However, at the end of the process, you must undergo an interview at the U.S. Embassy.

In principle, you must leave the United States with an I-601a Waiver. However, the great thing about it is that you will have the waiver approved before you are required to leave. Previously, with the I-601 Waiver, before I-601a legislation was passed, you were required to get the waiver approved outside of the United States, and that was pretty scary for a lot of people because you would be stuck outside the U.S. if the waiver were denied.

Now with the I-601a, the great news is the fact that you can get that Waiver approved if you can show extreme hardship before you leave, so you’ll know whether or not your Waiver is approved before you leave, taking out a lot of the risk in that whole I-601a process, but if you’re eligible for 245(i) why leave the country? Apply for 245(i)!

So I invite you to contact our office at (916) 613-3553 or email us at – we’re happy to talk to you and answer your questions: we answer questions like this all day long. I’d like to thank you for tuning in on this video, have an awesome day. Download our free books on our website at

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Related Information on Section 245(i)

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