10. Have you ever used fraudulent documents to gain entry to the United States?
11. Have you ever told anyone you were a United States citizen?
12. Have you ever been arrested for any crime?
13. Have you ever been convicted of committing any crime?
14. Are you a victim of a crime that occurred in the United States?
15. Are you married to a United States citizen or permanent resident?
16. Do you have United States citizen children? If so, what are their ages?
17. Has a family member ever filed a petition for you in the past?
18. Do you have an I-130 pending?
19. Do you qualify for DACA? Enter before 06/15/2007, before age of 15, and in school or have a diploma?
What happens in a consular interview?
A consular interview is where a U.S. official asks you questions and reviews your record to see if you are admissible, which means that you can be allowed in to the U.S.. Your medical, financial, and criminal record will be reviewed as well as your immigration history. Often if you are getting papers through a spouse you are asked questions about your marriage again to make sure that it´s a valid marriage.
Your medical record will be reviewed based on the medical exam you have done in your home country while you are there. Your attorney will help you get the medical exam organized before you leave.
Your financial record will be reviewed to ensure you don’t become a public charge, or in other words become reliant on the government. They will make sure your sponsor makes enough money to financially support you. Also, they will consider several other factors such as your work history, education, English speaking ability, anything you own, any debts or loans you may have, and your ability to pay medical bills if you don’t have health insurance.
If you have any criminal history it will be considered. Reviewed will be any arrests and charges you may have had. Even if the charges are really old or the case has since been closed because you have completed everything, they will be taken in to account. They will want to know whether charges were ever filed, if the charges were dismissed, or if you were convicted on any charges. Things that can make your criminal history different is if the case was recent or a long time ago, how serious were the charges, what the sentence was, and if you completed everything the judge wanted you to. Also important is that you resolve any open criminal cases you may have prior to leaving.
It is very important that you are truthful and you tell your attorney everything about your history before you leave for this interview. Otherwise, the consequences could be that you have to wait in your country of birth for 10 years or that you never will be allowed to enter the U.S.. But don’t worry, all of our clients that have followed our advice all have their green cards now or will have their green cards very shortly.
Everything goes very smoothly almost every time. Your attorney will let you know what to expect at the interview. Sometimes you have to apply for a waiver and your attorney will let you know ahead of time if you are likely to need one. We know many of you have not been to your home country for a long time, or you may not have been old enough to even remember it, but rest assured you will be fully prepared for this interview.
What is a 601 waiver and what’s the difference between a 601 and 601a?
A 601 waiver is filed on the Form I-601. It is an application to waive (or have forgiven) something in your record that makes you inadmissible. Inadmissible means that you cannot be allowed in to the U.S. for some reason. Not everything can be waived but a lot of things can. Once the waiver is approved, you are then considered admissible.
Things in your record that would require that you apply for a 601 waiver are often immigration violations or criminal history. The most common immigration violation needing to be waived is unlawful presence in the U.S.. Time in the United States without lawful immigration status is counted against you. If someone is in the U.S. for 6 months to under a year without status and then leaves the U.S. is inadmissible (or cannot be allowed to enter the U.S. lawfully) for 3 years. The most common is that someone is in the U.S. for over a year without lawful immigration status. So, if you’ve been in the U.S. for more than a year with no status or out of status and you leave to your country of birth to apply for a green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you will need to apply for a 601 waiver.
Other things needing to be waived is criminal history. Not all convictions require a waiver. But some do and the question is whether your state conviction fits in to certain federal categories. The most common federal categories that require a 601 waiver are crimes involving moral turpitude (AKA “CIMT” or “CMT”) and controlled substance offenses. Some of the more common crimes involving moral turpitude are fraud offenses (such as taking identity of another, criminal impersonation, fraud, possession of a forgery device), aggravated assault, endangerment, and theft offenses.
A controlled substance offense is a conviction relating to a controlled substance or a drug. But not all controlled substance offenses can be waived, in fact, only those that relate to 30 grams or less of marijuana. So if you have a conviction for possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia and that conviction is related to 30 grams or less of marijuana, it can be waived with a 601 waiver.
But just because we may have named your conviction above, it doesn’t mean that you will have to apply for a 601 waiver. Some aren’t depending on the specific subsection of your conviction or the individual circumstances of your case. This list does not include all reasons why you may need to apply for a 601 waiver. The best advice is that you have one of our experienced attorneys review your immigration and criminal history.
The difference between a 601 waiver and a 601A waiver is that one is applied for from outside the United States and the other is applied for inside the United States. The 601 waiver is applied for while the person is outside the United States and in their home country. The 601A waiver is applied for while the person is inside the United States. It is applied for on the Form I-601A. If you can apply for the 601A waiver inside the U.S., this is great because it allows you to be with your family while the waiver is being processed, which can sometimes take up to a year. The 601A waiver is relatively new and has been around for a couple years already. In order to be eligible to apply for the 601A waiver inside the U.S. you cannot be in active immigration court proceedings and also if the only thing needing to be waived is unlawful presence in the United States. If someone doesn’t fit this criteria, then they will have to apply for the 601 waiver from their country of citizenship.
Let’s say you do need to file either a 601 waiver or 601A waiver. To get either waiver approved you have to show that your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if it is not approved. Extreme hardship can be proven by showing how they will medically, psychologically, financially, and/or emotionally suffer if your waiver isn’t approved. You will submit medical, psychological, and financial records, and anything else that shows how they will be affected if they were in the U.S. without you or if they went with you to your country of citizenship. Unfortunately, the law does not allow someone to apply for a waiver if they only have children who are U.S. citizens.
Don’t be alarmed by the requirements of the waiver. Our clients have had great success getting their waivers approved with the help of one of our experienced attorneys.