What You Need to Know About Applying for the I-601A Waiver

imageImmigration law is incredibly complicated and, in the current political climate, very tricky to navigate.  There are many different avenues to legal immigration status depending on each individual’s unique circumstances.  Certain individuals may be inadmissible for immigration for some reasons that could ultimately be waived if approved.  The waiver, known as the I-601A Waiver, has forms that must be filled out properly and certain conditions met in order to be approved.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services describes what the I-601A Waiver is and who may be eligible, “If you are inadmissible to the United States and are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain nonimmigrant statuses or certain other immigration benefits, you must file this form to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.”

There are many requirements that must be met to be eligible for the I-601A Waiver.  The I-601A waiver forgives unlawful presence in the United States and eliminates any mandatory time that one would otherwise be waiting in his or her home country (generally three or ten years).  This means that the applicant would only need to depart the United States to attend the visa interview in his or her home country.  This I-601A waiver allows the applicant beneficiary’s to wait in the United States while their waiver application is being processed.  A person will only be able to qualify for the I-601A waiver if he or she has a United States citizen spouse or parent.

The first step in applying for an I-601A waiver is the I-130 family petition.  The purpose of the I-130 petition is to classify the immigrant beneficiary/applicant as a relative of the petitioner.  The approval of the I-130 simply means that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is satisfied that the applicant is the spouse of the petitioner.  Therefore, there must be proof that the marriage is a legitimate marriage, not one solely for immigration purposes.  The I-130 is $420 and takes approximately 6-9 months.

After I-130 has been approved, the petition will be forwarded to the Department of State so that two fees can be paid to the National Visa Center.  These fees are $120 and $325, and are for the immigrant visa, and the DS-260 application for residence that is completed online.

After the National Visa Center fees are paid, the waiver can be submitted. In order to be approved for an I-601A Waiver, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that refusal of their admission to the United States will cause “extreme hardship” to their qualifying relative—the United States citizen spouse or parent.  This includes evidence of financial, medical, educational, and emotional conditions.  The cost of the waiver is $670 and takes approximately 4-8 months.

Even if approved, the process does not end there.  Obtaining an I-601A Waiver is a very complicated process and if even one page of the form is missing or filled out incorrectly, you will be denied and possibly deported.  When it comes to immigration status and applications, it is important that you do not take any chances.  Allow us to assist you in completing all necessary forms to give you the best chance of approval.  We have extensive experience handling immigration cases and have represented many individuals applying for their I-601A Waiver.  We know the intricacies of the process and how to give you the best chances of approval.  Contact Alcock Law with any immigration questions or questions regarding the I-601A Waiver before you file any documents!



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