There are two main waivers that immigrants seeking a green card may become exposed to. This would be the I-601 and I-601a waivers of inadmissibility. What is the difference between them, who needs them, and how do you qualify for them?
Who can apply for an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility?
The principal waiver of inadmissibility would be the I-601. This may be needed by someone seeking an immigrant visa who either had their interview outside the United States at a consular office or who had an interview for adjustment of status in the U.S. at a field office for USCIS. In either example, a waiver may be needed when one of these immigrants is found “inadmissible” by an agent and they would like to continue trying to obtain their legal permanent residency. The I-601 waiver applies to immigrants who are denied their green card and are found inadmissible based on the following reasons: health, certain criminal grounds, immigration fraud or misrepresentation, membership in a totalitarian party, alien smuggling or those with a 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the United States.
What is the Cost of I-601 Waiver?
There is a filing fee of $930 for this process that covers the review from the immigration agent and any additional requests for evidence needed to decide the case. The review is to evaluate the evidence and explanation the applicant has to overcome the charge of inadmissibility. Since the reasons for inadmissibility under the law can be very different, the evidence required to overcome the burden is also very different. Essentially the applicant is trying to convince the government that they either should not be found inadmissible or they want to show why their situation is not as severe as it may look on paper.
How long does it take to get a waiver?
The current processing times for an I-601 waiver is around 25 months or longer. It is important to know that this is the initial amount of time for the review and it does not necessarily factor in the additional time needed to respond or to challenge the government’s findings in their initial review.
Who can apply for an I-601a waiver of inadmissibility?
In contrast, the I-601a waiver, also known as the provisional or hardship waiver, is available only for those immigrants who are physically present in the U.S., are 17 years old or greater, and have an immigration process pending with the Department of State based on sponsorship from a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident family member. This waiver is used when the applicant believes they will be found inadmissible as a result of unlawfully being present in the U.S. for over 6 months and their family member will suffer some form of extreme hardship should the immigrant not be permitted to return to the U.S. following their interview abroad.
What is the Cost of I-601a Waiver and what are the processing times?
The filing fee for this waiver is currently $715 and the processing time is a staggering 36 months. This is a very challenging waiver to win in part because the government allows the applicants to remain in the U.S. while waiting for a decision before having to leave for their interview. Applicants can be found ineligible for the request and will be denied depending on the reason provided by the government agent. Common reasons are for those who have previously been ordered removed from the U.S., for those currently involved in removal proceedings or for those who fail to show how their qualifying family member would experience extreme hardship should the waiver not be granted. In short, denials are most common when applicants fail to convince the government of their need.
Because of the level of difficulty to file and win an inadmissibility waiver, it is highly recommended that an applicant consult with an experienced immigration attorney rather than trying to file by themselves. If you think you may need a waiver and would like to discuss your case with us, please schedule an appointment by calling +1 888 589 2228 or by using the following link to schedule an appointment online: https://marvinlawoffice.com/schedule-a-consultation/