IMMIGRATION WAIVERS

What to know about grounds of inadmissibility, unlawful presence, extreme hardship and 601 waivers

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What Is An Immigration Waiver?

Some of the non-residents who live in, or wish to come to the United States, are not permitted to do so because of what is known as “grounds of inadmissibility” meaning they are inadmissible.
 

Some others who are already in the United States and are permanent residents or green card holders can be stopped at U.S. borders and be placed in deportation or removal proceedings because they have committed crimes while in the U.S. (e.g., a crime involving moral turpitude) that may make them inadmissible.
 

For some of these cases, a waiver or waivers are available (e.g., a waiver of inadmissibility), which can overcome these grounds of inadmissibility/the reason someone is inadmissible, once approved.

 

Naturally, you may have questions such as what is an I-601 or an I-601A waiver? What next after the I-601 or I-601A waiver is approved? How long does an I-601 or I-601A waiver take?

 

Give our offices a call for answers to these questions and more.

Some of Our Approvals

Why, And To Whom, Is An Immigration Waiver Like An I-601 Or I-601A Available?

Generally speaking, the immigration waiver (like the I-601 or I-601A) is not given to the person who has been deemed inadmissible, but rather, to their parents, spouse, or children who will experience some form of extreme hardship if the individual is not allowed to return or be admitted as a green cardholder (a hardship waiver).

 

In other words, although this person has done something to make their return to the U.S., or obtaining residency, undesirable, there are other reasons, such as extreme hardship to their immediate qualifying relative (e.g., extreme hardship waiver for spouse), that outweighs the desire to keep them out of the U.S.

Have more questions regarding immigration waivers like the I-601 or I-601A? Our experienced professionals are ready and available to help!

What Types Of Reasons Are Required For An Immigration Waiver To Be Granted?

By and large, an immigration waiver request (e.g., a request for an I-601 or I-601A) is granted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Promote family unity and provide humanitarian results
  • Provide relief to refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking and certain criminal acts, and other humanitarian and public interest applicants who seek protection or permanent residency in the United States
  • Advance the national interest by allowing aliens to be admitted to the United States if such admission could benefit the welfare of the country
  • Ensure public health and safety concerns are met by requiring that applicants satisfy all medical requirements before admission or, if admitted, seek any necessary treatment
  • Weigh public safety and national security concerns against the social and humanitarian benefits of granting admission to an alien

What happens after an immigration waiver (e.g., an I-601 or I-601A) is approved? Your case will be sent to a U.S. consulate for an immigrant visa interview.


Do you have questions over whether your immigration waiver (e.g., I-601 or I-601A) request may be granted? Give our offices a call!

pen and a document

What Are The Types Of Immigration Waivers Available?

Immigration Waiver After A Previous Removal:

  • This immigration waiver allows those who were deported to re-enter, in certain circumstances.

Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601 or I-601A) Waiver:

  • Those who have arrived illegally or remained here beyond their initial visas can be subject to what is generally known as 3 year bar / 10 year bar. For example, if someone arrived illegally and now is married to a U.S. citizen, this individual will not generally be able to obtain his or her green card in the U.S. and must leave the U.S. for an interview at the U.S. consulate. However, once they leave, they will be subject to either a 3 year bar or a 10 year bar from returning, unless an immigration waiver (e.g., an I-601 or I-601A) has been approved in their case.

Immigration Waiver For Certain Crimes:

  • If an individual has committed a crime, this can render them inadmissible, which means if they already have a green card and then depart the U.S. they can come face to face with losing their green card upon their return. Alternatively, if someone does not have a green card but is otherwise eligible, they could be considered inadmissible and disqualified from being granted a green card due to having committed a crime in the past. This type of immigration waiver is available to those who can show extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, or hardship to themselves providing the crime occurred more than 15 years ago.

Immigration Waiver Of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude:

  • Certain crimes, such as theft, are considered crimes involving moral turpitude or crimes that show the lower-than-desired morality of the person. An immigration waiver is available for certain crimes of moral turpitude, based on the hardship to the qualifying relative.

Immigration Waiver Of Possession Of Drugs:

  • An immigration waiver is available under certain circumstances to those who were convicted of marijuana possession.

Intentional Misrepresentation Of A Material Fact:

  • Those who have previously misrepresented certain facts to the U.S. Immigration or Consular authorities, care deemed inadmissible but may apply for a waiver based on extreme hardship to qualifying relatives.

Other Immigration Waiver For Nonimmigrants:

  • Those who wish to come to the U.S. as a non-immigrant may apply for a discretionary waiver.

For more information about any immigration waiver listed above and whether you qualify, give our offices a call, following the link below.

A Short Guide To The Unlawful Presence (I-601A) Provisional Immigration Waiver

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §. Section 212(a)(9)(B) imposes a ban on immigrants who accumulate an “unlawful presence” in the United States, leave the country, and attempt to re-enter the country legally.

 

Generally, an immigrant who enters the United States without inspection or overstays his/her authorization is considered unlawfully present. Individuals with an accumulation of more than 180 days but less than a year of unlawful presence are prohibited from re-entering or returning to the United States for three years, and persons with an accumulation of more than one year of unlawful presence are prohibited for ten years.

 

What Is An I-601A Unlawful Presence Immigration Waiver And Who Is Eligible?

In the traditional process, an immigrant visa applicant arrives at a US consulate for an interview, and if the consular officer determines that the person is inadmissible due to unlawful presence but has the right to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility, the consular officer stops the case and tells the person that at that time, they are not eligible for an immigrant visa but an immigration waiver (e.g., an I-601 or I-601A) may be possible. The person has the opportunity to request an exemption.

 

Unfortunately, under the prior law, a person had to wait outside the United States, separated from their family while the waiver (e.g., I-601A) was processed for several months or even years. This created great uncertainty for families who had to leave the country without knowing if or when they would be allowed to return.

 

In August 2016, the federal government issued a rule that expands eligibility for a provisional immigration waiver to anyone who meets the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In other words, anyone who enters the employment-based immigration system or diversity visa lottery (DV), family-based immigration system and any other immigrant classification (I-360 mixed class) can receive a provisional waiver as long as they can show “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to the spouse or parent of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

 

The 2016 rule also expands eligibility to certain individuals who have a final order of removal, removal, or deportation. In summary, the I-601A is an immigration petition form and process that allows relatives of certain US citizens or permanent residents to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to multiple years of illegal residence before they subsequently leave the United States.

 

Want to know if you’re eligible for an immigration waiver (e.g., an I-601A)? Call our offices now!

How To Apply For An I-601A Immigration Waiver:

To apply for an I-601A immigration waiver, you:

  • Must be physically present in the United States.
  • Have an approved petition.
  • Cannot enter the United States because you were here illegally for more than 180 days after your 18th birthday.
  • Must have a qualifying relative who would suffer extreme hardship if the waiver were not granted.
  • The qualifying relative must be a US citizen or legal permanent resident (spouse or parent).

Note: The qualifying relative does not have to be the person who filed the Petition for Alien Relative Family Immigrant Petition on your behalf (in other words, if your spouse is filing on your behalf, the qualifying relative can be a parent).

Note: You may have more than one qualifying relative; USCIS aggregates these hardships to determine “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.”

Individuals Ineligible To Apply For An I-601A Immigration Waiver:

You may not be eligible to apply for an I-601A immigration waiver if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are under 17 years of age.
  • You cannot be accepted for any other reason than staying longer.
  • You have previously been subject to removal or have been removed and your removal has not been completed or you have been subject to a final order of removal or removal in immigration court.
  • You had an immigrant visa interview at a US consulate scheduled by a consular officer before January 3, 2013 (even if the actual interview was scheduled after January 3, 2013, you are not eligible to apply for a temporary waiver). This also applies to candidates who did not appear for the interview, canceled the interview or rescheduled the interview.
  • You are permanently blocked. “Permanent obstruction” applies to people in two situations: (1) you have been in the United States illegally for more than a year since 1996 and then returned to the United States or attempted to return to the United States illegally, or (2) you were ordered removed from the United States and then returned to the United States or attempted to re-enter the United States illegally.

It can be difficult to demonstrate extreme hardship. One of the key components of an I-601A extreme hardship waiver is the argument that describes why leaving the United States would result in an exceptionally challenging situation for you or your family. The goal of this I-601A legal argument is to provide specific information about the hardships that your relatives would face if you were to leave or be denied entry into the country. As the I-601A applicant, you will have a deep understanding of these hardships.

For clients who hire us, we gather information about their difficult circumstances and use it to create a legal document that outlines their hardship (a hardship letter for immigration), or alternatively, we assist the I-601A client in writing a hardship letter for immigration if they prefer a less comprehensive service. There are several important considerations to bear in mind when collaborating with your lawyer to prepare your I-601A hardship waiver application. Our offices are prepared to help!

Immigration Waiver FAQs

How long does it take for an I-601A immigration waiver to be approved?

In our experience, it varies, but between 6 months to 1 year is the normal time. 

 

What is next after my I-601A immigration waiver is approved?

Your case will no have to undergo Consular processing at a U.S. Consulate overseas. 

 

How can I apply for an I-601A immigration waiver?

Although the form required for this type of request seems easy to fill out, it is your burden of proof to show you deserve such a discretionary relief, and in our experience, this is hard to do without professional help and guidance. 

 

What happens if an I-601a waiver or an I-212H waiver, or any other immigration waiver is denied?

You can appeal the decision, or re-file it with more evidence. Keep in mind that with each filing you may, and likely will, experience more resistance. It is best to put the best and strongest case the first time out. Our offices can help ensure you put your best foot forward.

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