Guide To the I-601A Waiver
Posted by Frank Gogol in Immigrants | Updated on August 24, 2022
If you are an immigrant visa applicant in the U.S. and have relatives that are citizens of the U.S., the I-601A waiver will interest you.
If you are inadmissible in the U.S. for any reason, i.e., are failing to receive a visa or green card, the I-601A waiver will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This article explains everything you need to know about the I-601A waiver: who needs it, how to file for it, its cost, and everything else.
Table of Contents
What Is an I-601A Waiver?
The I-601A waiver is a form through which visa applicants can request a provisional waiver of their inadmissibility (i.e., not getting entry to the U.S.) due to unlawful presence grounds.
Only visa applicants who have relatives who are U.S. citizens or are lawful permanent residents (LPR) can take advantage of this waiver. This provisional waiver falls under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
You must submit the application before you leave the U.S. and appear at the U.S. embassy or consulate for your immigrant interview.
Who Needs an I-601A Waiver?
Anyone who meets the above criteria needs an I-601A waiver. You can file for the I-601A waiver if you follow the below conditions:
- You are physically present in the U.S.
- You are at least 17 years of age at the time of filing
If you have an immigrant visa application pending with the DOS (Department of State) because of the following reasons:
- You are in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa as the principal beneficiary of an approved form I-130
- If you are a Diversity Visa Program selectee and waiting for your immigrant visa
- If you are the spouse or child of an approved immigrant visa applicant and have paid the visa processing fee to the DOS, or you are a spouse or child of a Diversity Visa program selectee
If you had an unlawful presence in the U.S. and you have been inadmissible for:
- More than 180 days but less than a year in a single stay
- More than a year in a single stay
Difference Between I-601 Waiver and I-601A Waiver
The I-601A Waiver or provisional waiver only waives inadmissibility (i.e., immigrants’ inability to stay in the U.S.) based on unlawful presence.
All other causes of inadmissibility must be waived by filing Form I-601, which includes reasons like criminal conviction and immigration fraud.
If you are filing for an I-601A waiver, make sure the only issue is unlawful presence. Immigrants often submit it for approval while waiting to leave for their home country. However, once they attend the visa interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate, another reason for inadmissibility is discovered. At this stage, the I-601A waiver approval is rescinded, and the applicant is required to file Form I-601 as well.
This can delay your return to the U.S., but filing an I-601 waiver after you have a rescinded I-601A waiver increases the chances you’ll be approved faster.
For this reason, it’s essential to know the difference between the two as waiver cases have become more complicated and stricter than ever.
How To Complete the I-601A Waiver
The I-601A waiver application is divided into nine parts.
Part 1: Personal information
Part 1 deals with information like your alien registration number, U.S. Social Security number (if any), USCIS online account number (if any), full name, mailing and residential addresses, gender, date and place of birth, country of citizenship, mother’s and father’s legal names, last and previous entry to the U.S., immigration or criminal history, etc.
Part 2: Biographic Information
Part 2 includes six items that ask you about your ethnicity, race, height, weight, eye color, and hair color.
Part 3: Information About Your Immigrant Visa Case
This part asks about the status of your immigration visa petition.
Part 4: Information Related To Qualifying Relative
Here you must prove your American or LPR relative will suffer hardships if you are not granted entry to the U.S. These hardships could be related to health, financial considerations, education, personal considerations, or any other reasons the applicant sees fit to mention. This part includes five items, namely:
- Your relative’s full name and your relationship with them
- Your other qualifying relative
- Additional qualifying relative’s full name and relationship to you
Part 5: Applicant’s Statement
This space is provided for the applicant to support their case and show why their unlawful presence should be waived.
Part 6: Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature
In this part, you are required to tick the appropriate box if you filled the application yourself or utilized an interpreter’s help.
You must provide your signature on the application, the date of filing the application, your mobile number, and your email address.
Part 7: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature (if Any)
If applicable, the interpreter must provide contact information, the name and address of the organization he works for, his name, and email address.
Part 8: Person Preparing This Application’s Contact Information, Declaration, and Statement (if Any)
If anyone else has helped you fill out the application, they need to fill out Part 7 and Part 8 of the form. This person should also sign and date the application.
Part 9: Additional Information
This space is provided to add additional information for a preceding section by clearly stating the part and item number to which the information relates.
Where To File the I-601A Waiver
You can file the I-601A waiver by mailing the form to the Chicago Lockbox facility.
However, we recommended checking the USCIS site before filing your I-601A waiver. You can also call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 for the latest information on where to apply.
I-601A Waiver Cost
The I-601A waiver filing fee is $630. You also have to pay an additional $85 as a biometric service fee if you are between 14 and 79 years old.
You can request a fee waiver, either the filing cost or the biometric service fee, when filing for the I-601A waiver.
This fee can be paid by check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
After Filing Your I-601A Waiver
After you have successfully filed your I-601A waiver, it is time to submit the necessary paperwork for your immigrant visa to the National Visa Center. The NVC requires all your paperwork to schedule your immigrant visa interview.
Taking more time to submit the supporting documents will delay your case.
- How Do I Speak to a Live Person at USCIS?
- How Many Citizenships Can You Have?
- How Do I Know Which USCIS Service Center?
- How Do I Know If USCIS Received My Application?
- What “Country of Residence” and How to Know Yours When on a Visa
- How to Check Dropbox Eligibility with the App
Filing the I-601A waiver is easy if you follow the instructions carefully, but be sure you understand the reason you are inadmissible clearly before filing I-601A.
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