Most visa refusals or other application denials are simple denials that do not carry any adverse affects beyond that particular application being denied. However, in some cases, a denial come with other serious repercussions that come with bars to enter the United States. Some of these bars are temporary and could last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years and others carry lifetime bars.
Form I-601A gives you a path to apply for a permanent waiver of the INA 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I) or INA 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) (unlawful presence) bar in the United States if you would like to enter the US with an immigrant visa.
Applications for this hardship waiver are made on Form I-601A. If you are in the United States and know that the only inadmissibility issue you have is due to an overstay then you can file an I-601A waiver and then process your immigrant visa at the Embassy.
I-601A filings are made with USCIS and generally take about 6 months to get a response. The I-601 is a five step process.
Step 1. Apply for permanent residency. This can be an employment based or a family based green card filing.
Step 2. Get your I-140, I-130, I-360, or DV lottery application approved.
Step 3. Seek consular processing of your green card
Step 4. File your I-601A and get it approved.
Step 5. Pursue consular processing at the Embassy. Reenter the US with your immigrant visa and get your green card!