I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility: Eligibility and How to Apply
You may be asking yourself, “What is inadmissible and how does it affect me?” Typically, if you are found to be inadmissible to the U.S. it is because you committed a certain crime or violation in the past. And, as long as you are deemed inadmissible, you won’t be able to move forward with your immigration process.
The good news is that you can file Form I-601, waiver of inadmissibility, to have your grounds for inadmissibility waived or forgiven by authorities. Here, we will go over the I-601 waiver of inadmissibility instructions and explain how to apply.
What Is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?
If you are inadmissible to the U.S. but are trying to immigrate, travel, or adjust status in the country, then you may need to file a waiver of inadmissibility. A waiver of inadmissibility is essentially an appeal to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to waive the grounds of your inadmissibility. If your waiver is approved, the grounds for your admissibility will be forgiven, making it possible to get approved for an immigrant visa or green card.
Why Are People Declared Inadmissible to Immigration to the United States?
There are a variety of reasons why one might be considered inadmissible to the U.S. Common reasons for being declared inadmissible include :
- Prior convictions for certain crimes
- Prior deportations from the U.S.
- Diagnosis of a communicable disease or lack of vaccinations
- History of drug abuse
- Associations with terrorist organizations
Waiver of Unlawful Presence in the U.S.
Pending a decision on your application for waiver of grounds of inadmissibility, or Form I-601, you will have to remain abroad. If you stay in the U.S. after being ordered to leave, this is known as unlawful presence, an offense which can be punished with a 3- or 10-year ban from entering the U.S.
However, you can file a waiver of unlawful presence in the U.S., otherwise known as Form I-601A, to attempt to waive the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility while remaining in the U.S. This can reduce the total amount of time you have to spend abroad while awaiting a decision from USCIS. But keep in mind that a I-601A Waiver can be filed if your only grounds for inadmissibility is unlawful presence in the U.S.
When you attempt to immigrate to the U.S., the government will require you to submit to a medical examination and produce your vaccination record. If you are determined to have a “communicable disease of public health significance” such as mumps, polio, or hepatitis B, to name a few, you may be considered inadmissible on health-related grounds. Additionally, if you haven not received required vaccinations, you may be prevented from entering the U.S.
If you have been convicted of certain crimes in the past, this may be grounds for inadmissibility. For example, convictions for murder, human trafficking, drug possession and trafficking, prostitution, and other crimes “involving moral turpitude” can make you inadmissible to the U.S. In most cases, you will have to file a waiver for criminal grounds of inadmissibility in order to be allowed back into the U.S.
Once you have been deported, it can be a long and difficult process to be readmitted to the U.S. Previous deportations can make you inadmissible to the U.S. for a number of years or, in some cases, even permanently.
How to Apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility
To apply for a waiver of inadmissibility, you will need to fill out Form I-601, a 12-page document that will ask for your grounds for inadmissibility among other personal information. This form can be filed with an adjustment of status if you are within the U.S., or through a consular process if outside the U.S. You can either fill out a waiver of inadmissibility online and submit it electronically or print it out and provide your responses in black ink.
Before applying for a waiver of inadmissibility or a waiver of unlawful presence in the U.S., it is highly recommended that you find an immigration law attorney near you who can help you through the process. At Consumer Law Group, we have a team of highly trained attorneys who are focused on resolving immigration matters for our clients. Just take a look at our testimonials to see the many ways in which we have helped people along the path to immigration to the U.S. Contact us today and learn how our attorneys can assist you.
You may file Form I-601 to contest certain grounds of inadmissibility for the following immigration benefits:
- You applied for an immigrant, K, or V nonimmigrant visa and are outside the U.S., have completed a visa interview with a consular officer, and were found inadmissible during the interview
- You applied for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence
- You applied for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- You applied for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 202 or Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) 902
- You applied for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner or the child of a VAWA self-petitioner
- You applied for adjustment of status based on T nonimmigrant status
- You applied for adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) on the basis of an approved Form I-360
Keep in mind that you can only contest specific grounds for each immigration benefit. Review the eligibility requirements of Form I-601 to see whether you can file a waiver of inadmissibility.
It can take 6-12 months for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to hand down a decision regarding your waiver of inadmissibility.
If you are deemed inadmissible to the U.S. and are seeking adjustment of status or other immigration benefits, then you must file a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility, or Form I-601, to have the grounds for your inadmissibility waived or forgiven.
I-601 Waivers generally have a high success rate, but approval depends on a variety of factors, such as the reason you’re applying and the grounds on which you’ve been deemed inadmissible.
If you are outside the U.S. and unable to enter, you can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility through a consular process with the U.S Embassy. You can also download and file Form I-601 online.
There are a number of different offenses that may prevent you from filing a waiver of inadmissibility in the first place. For instance, inadmissibility grounds cannot be waived if:
- You have been convicted of murder or torture
- You have a history of drug abuse or addiction
- You were unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than one year or attempted to reenter illegally after being ordered removed
- You have participated in human trafficking
- You are suspected of entering the U.S. to commit espionage or sabotage
- You belong to a terrorist organization
- You were involved in political or extrajudicial killings
These are just some of the inadmissibility grounds that cannot be waived. For a comprehensive list, contact a qualified immigration law attorney.
The filing fee for Form I-601 is currently $930. In addition to this cost, an immigration attorney will charge based on the amount of time and effort it takes to fill out your application. Contact Consumer Law Group today to receive a legal consultation and quote specific to your situation.
Some of the crimes that can be forgiven with a waiver of inadmissibility include:
- Select crimes of moral turpitude
- Some minor drug offenses
- Multiple criminal convictions for which the aggregate prison sentences added up to at least five years
If you committed any of these crimes, you may be able to get a waiver of inadmissibility approved under certain conditions. Consult with a qualified immigration attorney for more information.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program sponsored by the U.S. federal government that allows citizens or nationals from participating countries to come to the United States for business or tourism for 90 days or less without a visa. To be eligible, travelers must meet certain requirements and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval before traveling.
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