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What is an I-601 waiver?

By March 26, 2021Immigration
Immigration Visa

Who can apply for this waiver?

Foreign nationals that:

  1. Are inadmissible (based on certain inadmissibility grounds), and
  2. Are applying for an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, or certain non-immigrant visa

can apply for I-601 waiver.

Please note that the type of type of inadmissibility ground you can apply for will depend on what type of visa you are applying/whether you are applying for a green card.

For example, if you are applying for an Adjustment of Status you can apply for a waiver for example based on health-related grounds, certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility, or 3 or 10 year bar based on unlawful presence (among others).

How can I apply for this waiver? Can I apply for this waiver at a U.S. Consulate?

You can apply for the waiver by filing Form I-601 with USCIS. Please note that even if you are applying for a visa at a U.S. Consulate, a U.S. Consular officer cannot adjudicate your I-601 visa waiver application. You will still have to file your I-601 waiver petition and supporting documentation with USCIS.

How long is the waiver valid? Will I have to re-apply for it?

If USCIS approves your I-601 waiver petition, the waiver is usually valid indefinitely (but there are some exceptions). However, the waiver is specific for the inadmissibility you disclose on the waiver – if you later engage in conduct that makes you inadmissible or if you don’t disclose all conduct that makes you inadmissible in the waiver application, the approved waiver would not cover that. Therefore, it is extremely important that you disclose all grounds of inadmissibility in the waiver application.

What information do I need to include in the waiver petition?

In the I-601 form itself, you will need to include information such as information about you (name, address, information about your most recent entry to the U.S., biographic information, and most importantly the reason for your inadmissibility and your inadmissibility statement).

The supporting documentation will vary depending on the reason for inadmissibility: for example, if you are inadmissible because of certain criminal conduct, you would want to submit police reports and complete court records about any conviction/disposition documents and evidence of rehabilitation. If you are inadmissible on a medical ground, then you would want to submit medical reports.

Additionally, for some grounds of inadmissibility, you will have to show that if the waiver is not granted, it will result in an extreme hardship to your qualifying relative. When looking at the extreme hardship argument, the USCIS officer will look at all factors and consequences & the totality of the circumstances.

For example, the USCIS officer will look at factors such as health, financial situation , education, personal considerations, cultural, religious or other factors. To prove the extreme hardship, you will have to submit documents showing the qualifying relationship between you & the qualifying relative (e.g. marriage or birth certificate). Additionally, you will have to submit documents such as: an affidavit of your qualifying relative, financial records supporting financial hardship (if applicable), expert opinions, medical documentation supporting the medical hardship (if applicable), or other applicable evidence.

If you are applying for a non-immigrant visa waiver and you need a waiver, please click here to read about 212(d)(3) non-immigrant visa waiver.

Please click here to read more about what happens to your non-immigrant visa if you overstay in the U.S.

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