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What is an I-601 Waiver

What is an I-601 Waiver?

If you were previously rejected after applying for a visa or any other immigration benefit, there’s still hope. This hope lies in an I-601 waiver which can potentially resolve the issues that caused the USCIS to reject an immigrant in the first place. Phoenix immigration attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group specialize in guiding clients through the complicated I-601 application process. Call us today at 602-910-4040 for more information.

What is an I-601 Waiver?

An I-601 waiver is also called an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. This waiver is generally used by immigrants who are applying for a visa, an adjustment of status, or another immigrant benefit that they aren’t eligible for.

I-601 Application Process

The I-601 application process is incredibly complicated and time-consuming, often concluding one to two years later. Additionally, the application process requires immigrants to submit hundreds of incredibly invasive documents. For example, some of the necessary documents must establish that an immigrant’s relatives would suffer “extreme hardship” if the USCIS denied them U.S. citizenship.

Who Can File an I-601 Waiver?

An I-601 waiver may benefit a variety of applicants, including:

  • Those who are currently outside the United States who want to file for an immigrant, K, or V visa. Additionally, the USCIS must have deemed applicants in this category as inadmissible after a visa interview.
  • Applicants for Adjustment of Status in regards to lawful permanent residence.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants.
  • Applicants for Adjustment of Status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief (NACARA).
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners or children of a VAWA self-petitioner.
  • Applicants for Adjustment of Status in regards to T nonimmigrant status.
  • Applicants for Adjustment of Status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) are established by an approved I-360 form.

Grounds of Inadmissibility That the USCIS May Waive

The types of inadmissibility that may be waived generally depend on what an immigrant is applying for.

The most common grounds of inadmissibility that the USCIS can potentially waive include:

  • Health-related grounds
  • Specific criminal grounds
  • Totalitarian Party membership
  • Immigration fraud or misrepresentation, excluding false claims to U.S. citizens
  • Smugglers and those who have to pay civil penalties
  • Living illegally in the United States and receiving a 3 or 10-year ban as a result
  • NACARA, HRIFA, or VAWA applicants who were previously removed from the United States following previous immigration violations

How Does USCIS Decide Whether to Approve an I-601 Waiver?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is one of three agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is in charge of all things naturalization and immigration. One of the many specific functions of the USCIS is approving an I-601 waiver. However, the USCIS will usually only approve waivers under specific circumstances.

Health-Related Grounds

The USCIS can deem an immigrant as inadmissible on health-related grounds if they:

  • Have a very contagious disease.
  • Didn’t receive necessary vaccines for diseases that are undoubtedly preventable by vaccines.
  • Suffer from a physical or mental disorder that causes harmful behavior. The USCIS deems harmful behavior as behavior that threatens people or property.
  • Have an addiction to hard drugs.

The USCIS may approve an I-601 waiver related to vaccination inadmissibility if the immigrant receives all necessary vaccinations. Additionally, the USCIS may approve waivers if a doctor proves that vaccines would be harmful to the immigrant or the DHS secretary states that vaccines would violate an immigrant’s religious beliefs.

Immigrant Membership in a Totalitarian Party

If an immigrant is or has been affiliated with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party, the USCIS will deem them inadmissible.

However, the USCIS may approve an I-601 waiver if:

  • The immigrant has a spouse, parent, child, or sibling who is a United States citizen. The USCIS may also approve a waiver if the immigrant has a spouse, parent, child, or sibling who is legally permitted to live in the United States.
  • The USCIS doesn’t consider an immigrant as a security threat to the United States.
  • An immigrant submitted an I-601 waiver to maintain family unity or some other charitable reason.
  • Social and humane factors offset the applicant’s unsuitability as a permanent resident, in the view of the immigration officer.

Misrepresentation

The USCIS may deem an immigrant as inadmissible if they lied about anything while applying for a visa or while trying to enter the United States. But the USCIS may approve an I-601 waiver if an immigrant can prove:

  • That not living in the United States would cause incredible distress to another citizen or legal immigrant living in the U.S.
  • Social and humane factors offset the applicant’s unsuitability as a permanent resident, in the view of the immigration officer.

Unlawful Presence

The government deems an immigrant who illegally lives in the United States for more than 180 days but less than a year inadmissible by the USCIS for three years. But, the USCIS may approve an I-601 waiver for an immigrant who proves that:

  • Not living in the United States would cause incredible distress to another citizen or legal immigrant living in the U.S.
  • Social and humane factors offset the applicant’s unsuitability as a permanent resident, in the view of the immigration officer.

Documents That Immigrants Must Include in an I-601 Waiver

One of the most complicated parts of the entire I-601 application process is the amount of invasive paperwork required. If you want to start this process in the near future, these are just some of the documents you must submit to the USCIS.

Biographical Documents

These are the biographical documents that the USCIS requires for an I-601 application process:

  • A petitioner must prove a qualifying relative’s legal status by including either their U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, U.S. passport, or LPR green card.
  • The marriage certificate between the petitioner and the beneficiary.
  • A copy of the beneficiary’s birth certificate, U.S. passport, U.S. visa, and I-94.
  • If the petitioner and the beneficiary had children, they must provide copies of their birth certificates as well.
  • If the beneficiary has previously filed paperwork with the USCIS, they should resubmit this paperwork along with other biographical documents.
  • Pictures of the beneficiary and petitioner along with their kids, family, and friends.

Petitioner’s Documents

Possibly the most important document a petitioner can submit is a statement that explains the level of distress they or their family would endure if someone can’t live with them in the United States. Or the statement must indicate the level of distress a petitioner would suffer if the USCIS forces them to leave the United States.

The statement should also address these factors:

Career and Education

Apetitioner must explain that their career or education is a big part of their desire to live in the U.S. and that leaving the country would be a major setback. A petitioner can also include details about a qualifying relative’s career and education. A petitioner must also explain that leaving the United States would incredibly disrupt a qualifying relative’s career and education opportunities.

Financial Hardships

A petitioner must go into extensive detail about their financial hardships. This may include evidence of credit card debt, mortgage payments, medical bills, and more.

Mental health issues

If a petitioner has depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorder, they must provide details about whether they’ve received therapy and medication. Additionally, the petitioner must explain how leaving the U.S. will impact their mental health.

Physical Health Issues

A petitioner must include details of any medical issues they suffer from. They must also include details about health insurance and how a petitioner will be able to pay for their medical issues while living in the United States.

Family Health Issues

A petitioner must include information about their family’s health issues. Additionally, petitioners must include whether family members rely on them due to their illness.

Beneficiary’s Documents

A beneficiary is most commonly a spouse. Firstly, a beneficiary must explain how their spouse will greatly suffer if they can’t return to the United States. In this statement, it’s crucial for a beneficiary to only focus on their spouse’s needs, burdens, and desires.

The most important things a beneficiary must include in this statement include:

  • About the relationship: a beneficiary must explain how they met their spouse, when they decided to get married, and how long the beneficiary had been in the U.S. when they met their spouse.
  • Household contributions: a beneficiary must explain how their family would suffer without them living in the United States. Additionally, a beneficiary must explain what resources their family would need without them, such as welfare, food stamps, and more.
  • Is the qualifying relative going to school? If so, a beneficiary must explain how their absence would affect the relative’s schooling. For example, they must explain whether they pay for the relative’s schooling or if they can go to school without the beneficiary’s help.
  • Academic background: outside of the beneficiary’s statement, they must also include transcripts if they attended American schools. If a beneficiary graduated from an American school, they must also provide diplomas, degrees, report cards, school awards, and graduation pictures.
  • Long term residency: if a beneficiary has been in the United States for more than 10 years, they must provide proof of residency. Additionally, a beneficiary must provide copies of their last three tax returns (if they worked in the U.S.) as well as other evidence of financial hardship.

What Do I Do If the USCIS Denies My I-601 Waiver?

If the USCIS denies an I-601 waiver, an immigrant can appeal the denial by filing an I-290B form, also known as a Notice of Appeal.

I-601 Immigration Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

If you’re an immigrant, it’s crucial to have an immigration attorney on your side to help you navigate the complicated I-601 application process. Passionate and experienced immigration attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group will fight to give you the best outcome possible. Call us today at 602-910-4040 for more information.

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