Not everyone is eligible for admission into the United States. USCIS can deny a visa or green card for a variety of reasons, including health, security, and concerns that an individual will require significant public assistance or welfare benefits. If you fall into one of these categories, USCIS may consider you “inadmissible.” You may also be deemed inadmissible if you’re facing a three or ten-year bar due to your past unlawful presence in the United States (aka being the United States without legal status for a certain amount of time). If you were deemed inadmissible, you may be able to apply for an I-601 waiver, which allows you to enter the United States lawfully.
How Do I Know If I’m “Inadmissible?”
This is a difficult question to answer. An experienced immigration lawyer can help determine if you’re inadmissible and the consequences. Many immigrants don’t discover they’re admissible until they reach their immigration interview or already far into their immigration journey.
While a proactive approach to inadmissibility may streamline and simplify the process, you should still consult with an immigration lawyer if you discover you’re potentially inadmissible after filing for a visa or green card.
Who Is Eligible for an I-601 Waiver?
Only qualified immigrants can receive an I-601 waiver. If you’re requesting an immigrant visa or legal permanent residency, you must also provide compelling evidence and arguments to support your immigration waiver. Typically, immigrants must convince USCIS that they have a qualifying relative who will face extreme hardship if the immigrant does not receive a waiver.
While U.S. immigration authorities do not define “extreme hardship,” USCIS has established a ranking system that assesses the strength of your arguments. A Level One argument is stronger than a Level Four argument.
Very serious reasons, such as war or conflict within your home country or your need to care for a seriously ill family member who resides within the United States.
Significant reasons, which may include caring for a dependent child who cannot leave the United States, tending to the needs of a moderately disabled family member, you have a family member who is unusually financially dependent on you, or your home country has a history of oppression or is at the brink of conflict.
Your home country is in economic crisis, you have a relative whose mental health or physical conditions would complicate their move outside the United States, or your child’s health or education would suffer if you moved back to your home country.
Your home country has high rates of unemployment or crime, you have relatives within the United States that would struggle to support and care for themselves if you left.
An Immigration Attorney Can Help You Win Your Waiver
You typically must provide evidence of multiple Level Two through Four arguments or at least one Level One argument to qualify for a waiver. You will also need more than your word to qualify. Instead, you’ll need a variety of documents and evidence that support your claims.
Generally speaking, most immigrants and their loved ones can’t categorize and assess the strength of their arguments without help from a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. Solano Law Firm assists clients with these complex assessments and the task of building a case for extreme hardship. To learn more about our services and approach to immigration law, contact our office today.
How Do I Apply for an I-601 Waiver?
If you’re ready to file for an I-601 waiver, you’ll need to submit a series of documents to USCIS, including:
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
- Your National Visa Center case number
- Documents associated with your visa application or an immediate relative petition
- Evidence that supports your claim of extreme hardship (or other qualifying reasons for a waiver)
You must also pay a processing or filing fee. Sometimes, if your immigration lawyer believes you may be inadmissible, they will submit your I-601 application simultaneously with your visa or green card application.
Once USCIS receives your I-601 application, it will carefully review your request and supporting evidence.
Processing times will vary, depending on where you file your I-601 application. However, it may take up to a year or more. Many factors can impact your processing time, including the complexity of your claim and whether your USCIS processing center has a backlog.
Because a waiver is vital to an otherwise “inadmissible” immigrant’s journey, you need to take your I-601 application seriously. At Solano Law Firm, we can help you understand your legal options and build a comprehensive and personalized immigration strategy for you that addresses waivers and your unique needs.
My Waiver Was Denied. What Should I Do?
USCIS approves and denies I-601 waivers for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, an immigrant just neglected to include all of their evidence. Other times, the issues are more complex. If your immigration waiver was denied, you need to act quickly and consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
There is an appeal process for denied I-601 waivers, but you only have 30 days to file this appeal. During an appeal, the Administrative Appeals Office will review the matter and either approve or deny your request.
However, an appeal isn’t always your best option. Instead, you may want to refile for an I-601 waiver — especially if you didn’t work with an immigration lawyer on your first attempt.
Speak to an Experienced Immigration Lawyer
To learn more about applying for an I-601 waiver or other immigration waivers, contact Solano Law Firm today. We are committed to serving immigrants and their loved ones, and have built a reputation for our service and hands-on approach to immigration law. Call today for a consultation.