How to Eliminate Immigration Barriers Through a Form I-601 Waiver
However, a determination of inadmissibility is not the end of your immigration journey. You may be eligible to submit USCIS Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility as a way to continue your path toward getting a green card. In this document, you essentially recognize that there are reasons you are ineligible for immigration, but you request that officials overlook them because of your situation.
There is no guarantee that you will gain approval on Form I-601, and you may still encounter challenges with the immigration process even if USCIS grants a waiver. Therefore, it is crucial to work with an Arizona immigration waivers lawyer to obtain the best possible result. You may also benefit from reviewing some helpful information on how you can eliminate immigration barriers through waivers.
Grounds of Inadmissibility Under Immigration Laws
When you are found inadmissible to the US during the immigration application process, you complete Form I-601 to request that officials waive the reasons for the determination. USCIS grounds of inadmissibility include:
- Health-related reasons, such as having a dangerous communicable disease or a mental disorder that could put others at risk of harm;
- Criminal activities, including violations of drug laws, prostitution, or crimes of moral turpitude;
- Threats to national security, where officials believe the person will commit espionage or overthrow the US government;
- The potential for becoming a public charge and being reliant on the government for financial support;
- A lack of labor certification, in employment-based cases;
- Acts of immigration fraud and misrepresentation; and,
- Many others.
One special category within grounds of inadmissibility is the 3- or 10-year bar for certain individuals. By USCIS rule, someone who was unlawfully present in the US for 180 days to 1 year cannot enter for 3 years. If the unlawful presence lasted more than a year, the bar is 10 years. The number of days is based upon the total that you accrue, which may or may not be chronological.
Eligibility for I-601 Waivers
Once USCIS notifies you of its findings on inadmissibility, you must determine whether you are eligible for an I-601 waiver. An important requirement is that you must have at least one qualifying relative serving as the basis for your request for the waiver. That person may be a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse, child, or parent. You are exempt from this criteria if your application is for a K visa, Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiancé.
Another critical requirement for filing Form I-601 is that you must prove to USCIS that extreme hardship would result if you were not allowed entry to the US on inadmissibility grounds. It will be necessary to submit solid evidence regarding the implications of being unable to unite with your qualifying relative. The point of view is how the US citizen or LPR spouse, child, or parent would suffer hardship, as opposed to your own disadvantage.
There can be some confusion between Form I-601 and Form I-601 – Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. An important distinction is that you can use Form I-601 to request waiver of many different grounds of inadmissibility. With Form I-601A, you can only seek a waiver based upon unlawful presence.
Steps for Filing Form I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver
The first step for seeking a waiver on grounds of inadmissibility starts before you complete the form, because proper preparations are essential. You must supply a vast amount of information, both through your statements and documentation you include with Form I-601. If you have important paperwork and notes in front of you, the process is less daunting.
With your input, your Phoenix immigration waivers attorney will tackle the required tasks for completing I-601. The form includes sections on:
- Your contact details and information about you;
- Information on when and where you entered the US, along with your immigration status at the time;
- Your reasons for inadmissibility, as presented on a list of numerous items that you check a box;
- Your inadmissibility statement, where you go into specifics about the items you checked as grounds of inadmissibility;
- Information on your qualifying relative who is a US citizen or LPR spouse, child, or parent; and,
- A statement on the extreme hardship your relative would suffer if you were not allowed into the US.
You can file Form I-601 online or via mail, but you must ensure to submit your supporting documents according to USCIS rules. There is a filing fee of $930.
Supporting Documents for I-601
For every fact you state in Form I-601, you will need to provide documentary evidence. In most cases, the official paperwork you need is available through government officials. Some alternative sources are acceptable, such as records kept by churches, employers, and tribes. An Arizona immigration lawyer will assist with researching and accessing documents, as well as determining which papers you need for Form I-601. Examples include:
- Your birth certificate, passport, and identification information;
- Proof of your qualifying relative’s legal or immigrant status, such as a birth certificate, passport, or green card;
- Marriage and birth certificates, where applicable;
- Evidence that a prior marriage legally ended in divorce, for a fiancé application; and,
- Documents you previously filed with USCIS.
USCIS Processing for Form I-601
When officials receive your documents, they will review the demographic information, your supporting documents, and other details you supply with Form I-601. However, one of the most important elements of your submission is your statement regarding the extreme hardship to your qualifying relative. The goal is to convince USCIS of the life-changing, adverse implications that the US citizen or LPR would suffer. Avoid discussing any hardship you would experience, and focus on your relative. Your own disadvantages are only relevant to USCIS if they are also a source of hardship for him or her.
Every family is different, so you will need to carefully prepare your statement to emphasize areas of extreme hardship. You may include details and paperwork in a wide range of areas, such as:
- Health: If your qualifying relative suffers from a medical condition and their health would deteriorate in your absence, you can support your statements with medical records. Include documents on diagnosis, specialized treatment, prognosis for recovery, and others.
- Finances: When you are denied entry to the US, you may be unable to provide the financial support your relative requires. You will need information on the effects of withdrawing your contributions, such as losing a home.
- Employment and Education: Being inadmissible could mean your relative will forego employment opportunities and possibly give up educational accomplishments.
- Personal Factors: If you have other close relatives in the US and they could be affected by your absence, make sure to mention these individuals and your relationships.
Legal Effect for Approved I-601 Waivers
It can take several months for USCIS to review and approve Form I-601, though the processing time can be longer if there are mistakes or omissions in the materials. If your waiver request is approved, you will receive a packet of documents from the US Embassy in your home country. It is necessary to schedule an interview with the consulate to move forward with the immigration process, and you may need to submit updated paperwork. At the interview, you will relinquish your passport. Within a few days, you should receive your passport containing your visa, which is valid for 4 months.
Upon arrival in the US, you present your passport and a packet of documents provided by the consulate. The officer will issue a stamp that acts as a temporary green card, and your official green card will arrive within a few weeks afterward.
What To Do if USCIS Denies a Form I-601 Waiver
USCIS uses discretion in processing waiver requests, so your I-601 may be denied even if you met all of the exhaustive requirements. However, there are options to revisit the decision by officials. You must file Form I-290B to request one of three actions:
- Appeal: Through this alternative, you request that a different authority review your Form I-601 and the decision by USCIS. You will file Form I-290B with the USCIS’ Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).
- Motion to Reopen: If new information is uncovered or becomes available after you originally sent in Form I-601, it is possible to ask that USCIS reopen your case based upon these facts.
- Motion to Reconsider: You can also use Form I-290B to ask USCIS to review its decision because of mistakes or inaccuracies that affected the outcome. It is not necessary to submit new evidence, but you will need to develop a solid legal argument on why the unfavorable decision was improper.
Count on an Arizona Immigration Waivers Attorney to Assist with Form I-601
It is reassuring to know that you have options to continue with the immigration process even after being found inadmissible. By retaining knowledgeable legal counsel, you can develop a strategy and submit essential evidence to convince USCIS that extreme hardship would result from denying entry. Our team at Diamondback Legal has extensive experience working with Form I-601 waivers, so we are ready to help address inadmissibility. Please call (602) 755-3199 or visit our website today to set up a consultation at our offices in Phoenix, AZ.
Related Content: What Are the Requirements for Waiver I-601?