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You might be a candidate for an immigration benefit in the U.S., like a visa or even a green card. Perhaps you’ve applied and have found you are inadmissible to the U.S. on some ground. Or maybe you’ve previously committed an act which may make you inadmissible. What can you do?
You can possibly apply for a waiver of your inadmissibility by making use of Form 601. Below we consider the Form 601 in detail. Take a look to see whether it could apply to you.
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You can be eligible for certain immigration benefits such as a U.S. visa or lawful permanent residence, but could still be inadmissible to enter the U.S. on one of the “grounds of inadmissibility” listed in Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.).
If you are “inadmissible” based on a listed ground, you can use a Form 601 to request a waiver of your inadmissibility. If your inadmissibility is waived, you can still obtain your immigration benefit and enter the U.S.
The Form 601A is known as the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. Form 601 is an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
The biggest difference between the two forms is where you file it from. You file a Form 601 from outside the U.S., while you file the Form 601A while you are in the U.S.
You use the Form 601A if you are already in the U.S. unlawfully and need to waive your unlawful presence. Usually, if you are in the U.S. unlawfully, you will be barred from entering the U.S. again for 3 or 10 years. This is a ground of inadmissibility. You use the Form 601A to request a waiver of this inadmissibility. The Form 601A will be filed before you leave the U.S. and will reduce the time you have to spend outside of the U.S. before you are allowed to enter again.
You will need a Form 601 if you qualify for a visa or green card, but you are inadmissible for any of the grounds listed in section 212 of I.N.A. You will use Form 601 to ask the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to waive (or forgive) your inadmissibility.
The idea behind the grounds of inadmissibility is to protect the United States. If you are a health risk or you could pose a threat to security, or you might need public financial assistance (so you are a risk of becoming a public charge), you will not be allowed into the U.S. unless you get a waiver.
You can make use of the Form 601 waiver if you inadmissible and you are:
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, following grounds of inadmissibility will qualify for a Form 601 waiver:
You might already know you are inadmissible before you apply for your immigration benefit. If this is the case, file your Form 601 together with your application. This will save you time. If you only found out after applying that you are inadmissible, don’t worry. You can still file your Form 601.
Once you have been granted a waiver, the waiver will be valid indefinitely. There are only certain instances where your waiver might be conditional or limited to certain benefits. For more details, take a look here.
Also, keep in mind, not all grounds of inadmissibility can be waived. Some categories of inadmissibility are too serious to be forgiven. This could be, for example, where the USCIS believes you are a terrorist, rapist, or murder.
If you are unsure of whether you qualify for a Form 601 waiver, consult an immigration attorney and get specialist advice. They will tell you whether a waiver is an option for you and what steps you should take to proceed with your application.
There isn’t a specific list of documents you have to submit with your Form 601 waiver. The important thing is to provide enough evidence to support your application for a waiver.
You can find a comprehensive checklist of evidence you will need to submit here.
You will find complete instructions for your application for waiver of grounds of inadmissibility here.
You need to fill it out in black ink and make sure the writing is legible. If you need extra space for one of the items in the form, you can use the additional space in Part 10. Otherwise, you can attach it in a separate sheet of paper. Just make sure you print your name and insert your Alien Registration Number on top of each sheet, so it doesn’t get lost. Also, make it clear which part of your form the additional info relates to.
Always double-check the info and documents you provide with your application. Fill out all the questions accurately and truthfully and remember to sign your Form 601. The USCIS will not process unsigned forms.
If you are currently in the U.S., you can file your Form 601 at the relevant USCIS address. You can view a full list of filing addresses here.
If you are currently outside of the U.S., you can file your Form 601 waiver at your U.S. embassy or consulate.
You must pay the filing fee of $930 to file the Form 601 waiver. This fee changes regularly, so keep an eye on this page to check what the latest fee is before you file.
You can pay this fee with a money order, a personal check, or a cashier’s check.
You can also request for this fee to be waived in the following circumstances:
Inadmissibility doesn’t need to be the end of your American journey. You could still get your visa or your green card. If you are inadmissible, consider making use of Form 601 to get a waiver for your inadmissibility. If you are unsure whether you qualify, contact an immigration attorney. Don’t give up on your American dream yet!
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