The I-601 Waiver functions to waive a visa applicant’s grounds of inadmissibility in order to admit them into the United States on grounds of extreme hardship. The I-601 Waiver can also be used by the beneficiaries of congressional acts such as the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act or persons filing for an adjustment in status, as well as those categorized as K or V nonimmigrants or those applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The 601 waiver applies to those attempting to gain an immigrant status or an adjustment of status. Currently, USCIS is working to make a provisional waiver, I-601A, which will expedite the 601 Waiver process for those found inadmissible due to unlawful presence and are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen. More information concerning the provisional waiver can be found at the bottom of this article.
In order to submit the I-601 Waiver form, an applicant’s visa application must first be denied. Inadmissibility can be determined based on the following grounds if the applicant:
In order to apply for this waiver, the applicant must submit evidence that their denial of admission to the United States would cause extreme hardship to their sponsoring U.S. legal citizen or permanent resident. Evidence of hardship can include:
In addition to evidence of hardship, applicants will also be required to provide evidence as to why he or she qualifies for the waiver. This can include:
Depending on the location from which you are submitting the I-601 Form, you will be required to submit to different locations or E-File if you meet the qualifications. The application comes with a $585 non-refundable application fee. The 601 waiver cases generally take longer than most since the applicant must first be denied a visa and, if required, leave the United States if the applicant cannot attain a provisional unlawful presence waiver. In most cases, however, processing times for the I-601 Waiver itself are under 12 months depending on the location of the filing. Be sure to include the following when filing the I-601 application in order to avoid denials or delays:
Applicants can use their Immigrant Visa Case Number to track the status of their I-601 application online.
Sandra, a legal permanent resident, recently submitted an I-130 family-based petition to bring her husband, Henry, into the United States. Henry was found to be inadmissible due to his criminal record. Unfortunately, Sandra has a very serious and chronic illness that requires substantial treatment, care, and financial resources and does not have family nearby to care for or support her. In this case, Sandra can submit a Form I-601 and attempt to argue that Henry’s absence will cause her undue and extreme hardship medically and economically. Additionally, she can emphasize that she does not have an adequate support system and that Henry can provide her with much needed primary care while at home and can work to pay her medical bills.
*Update on 601 Waivers*
Starting March 30, 2012, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be accepting application requesting the newly proposed provisional waivers. The USCIS is currently considering changes to this waiver, Form I-601A, which would allow certain immediate relatives to receive the provisional unlawful presence waivers in a timelier manner if they can prove that their removal from the United States would cause an extreme hardship for their USC or legal resident. This new waiver is meant to minimize the times of separation since the applicant is required to depart from the United States and apply at a consular office. Until the USCIS issues a final ruling, they will not accept any I-601A applications.
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