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What Is the I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility?

So, you made it to your immigrant visa interview. When you thought your U.S. immigration dreams would finally come true, the consular officer informed you that your application would be denied because you couldn’t be admitted to the U.S. for some reason.

At that point, it might seem like your dreams have been cut short, but that may not be true. Yes, there’s a reason why you were deemed inadmissible for entry into the U.S. that you can’t magically wish away. But the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act provides a way out for people like you that allows you to overcome the reason for your inadmissibility and proceed with the immigration process. These options are known as immigration waivers.

The I-601 Waiver, also known as the “Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility,” is a form used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This waiver allows specific individuals ineligible for an immigration benefit, either an immigrant visa or a green card, due to specific grounds of inadmissibility to request a waiver of those grounds.

The grounds of inadmissibility could include immigration fraud or misrepresentation, certain criminal grounds, presence in the U.S. without legal admission or parole (unlawful presence), certain medical conditions, or other specified activities that make an individual ineligible.

To get the I-601 waiver approved, the individual must demonstrate that a qualifying U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if the individual is not allowed to live in or return to the U.S.

Extreme hardship must be more than the typical hardship a family experiences when separated. Therefore, thorough and convincing documentation is crucial when applying for an I-601 waiver. Approval is not guaranteed, and it is advised to get legal help when considering this route.

Keep reading to understand how this waiver works and how you can succeed with the application process.

Who Needs an I-601 Waiver?

The I-601 waiver may overcome several inadmissibility grounds that make an applicant ineligible to enter or remain in the U.S. Some of those grounds include:

  • Health-related grounds of inadmissibility, such as when the applicant has a communicable disease or a physical or mental disorder.
  • When the applicant has a criminal record or admits to committing certain crimes
  • When the applicant has committed immigration fraud or misrepresentation in the past
  • The applicant is a member of a totalitarian party.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also specified some categories of people with the above inadmissibilities who can benefit from this waiver. The list includes the following:

  • K, V, or immigrant visa applicants abroad who were declared inadmissible during their visa interview.
  • Certain applicants who seek to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence.
  • Adjustment of status applicants under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
  • Self-sponsored applicants under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Candidates for adjustment of status via the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) route who have obtained Form I-360 approval.

There may be other categories of immigrants who qualify for the I-601 waiver. If you have doubts about your eligibility, you can ask an immigration attorney to assess your case and confirm your eligibility for the waiver.

Applying for an I-601 Waiver

You’ll need to download and complete Form I-601. Form I-601 is a 12-page document, and you must submit all 12 pages to the USCIS for your application to be considered.

You’ll need to provide information such as

  • Your name and address
  • Your date and place of birth
  • Details of your most recent entry into the U.S.
  • The reason for your inadmissibility.

Depending on your case, you may also need to include details of close family ties to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This condition applies to specific candidates, such as those deemed inadmissible due to past fraud or misrepresentation during the immigration process. Such people would need to provide information that shows the following:

  • A close family relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (such as a spouse or parent)
  • Details of the relative’s immigration status
  • That denial would lead to extreme hardship for the qualifying relative.

The details you’ll need to provide in your form vary depending on your circumstances. Let an immigration attorney guide you through the form completion process to ensure you fulfill the requirements and avoid mistakes.

Supporting Documents for the I-601 Waiver Application

The grant of the I-601 waiver is discretionary. Before issuing an approval, the USCIS will weigh the favorable or unfavorable factors presented in your case. You must submit documents supporting your case to help them decide in your favor.

Some of the documents that could support your application include the following:

  • Evidence that establishes why you qualify for a waiver. The specific document you’ll provide depends on the reason for your inadmissibility.
  • Evidence to establish your claim of extreme hardship (if applicable)
  • Proof of your qualifying relative’s legal resident status ( if applicable)
  • Affidavits from you or other individuals to support the claims in your form
  • Medical reports.

Mailing Your Waiver Application

Once you’ve completed the form and gathered the relevant documents, you must pay the appropriate filing fees before mailing your waiver application. USCIS fees change periodically. Confirm the current amount for the form before you pay to avoid any issues.

Once received, the USCIS will review the application and documents provided. After adjudication, they will inform you of their decision. Additionally, they may request that you attend an interview or conduct security checks on you before deciding on your application.

What to Do After a USCIS Decision on Form I-601

Once the process is complete, you’ll be notified of the USCIS’s decision on your application. Approval of the I-601 application means that you can continue your immigration journey.

If the USCIS denies your application, you can appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). You may also file a motion with the USCIS to reopen or reconsider the decision.

While you are allowed to appeal the unfavorable decision on your own, An appeal is mostly a legal process. It would benefit you to have a skilled immigration law attorney handle the process on your behalf. They can make things easier and ensure you have the appropriate documentation to help you succeed.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The I-601 waiver application can be complex and time-consuming. You may feel overwhelmed with the process and make mistakes that could cost you a successful outcome. Knowing common errors to avoid can help you increase your chances of getting approval.

Some of the mistakes to avoid include:

  • Failing to read and understand the instructions for Form I-601
  • Not providing enough evidence to support your case
  • Failing to pay the right filing fees
  • Incorrect filing fee or method of payment
  • Not showing an extreme hardship for a qualifying relative (if applicable)
  • Not providing enough proof of your family relationship (if applicable)
  • Forgetting to include essential information
  • Missing deadlines
  • Not updating address
  • Filing without legal advice

To avoid these common pitfalls, you should retain an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the application process. They can help you understand and meet all the requirements and increase your chances of success.

Got More Questions About the I-601 Waiver? Contact the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney for Answers

At our firm, we understand the frustration of denied immigration applications. With our vast knowledge of immigration law, we can guide you through the waiver application process and do all we can to ensure you succeed.

Contact us immediately and share your concerns with our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. Let us identify and work through possible solutions together.

Schedule Your Consultation

Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.