Complete Guide to USCIS Form I-601

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on August 25, 2022

Many people want to go to the United States and get their Green Card. Still, some people are found to be inadmissible to the country. Luckily, there are ways to work around it, and if you use Form I-601 on the USCIS website, you may be able to achieve your dream. What exactly is this form, though, and what are the requirements for it? Read on to find out more.

What Is Form I-601?

People decide to apply for a Green Card for various reasons. They either want to apply for one after marrying a U.S. citizen or they decide to get a better life by moving to the country. However, some people are found “inadmissible to the United States” – in this case, they cannot apply freely for the Green Card.

One can be inadmissible to the U.S. for many reasons. Some people have committed violations that prevent them from being able to apply for a U.S. green card or return to the U.S. if they leave.

For the most part, people are inadmissible for reasons related to national security, lack of labor certification (if it applies), health, public charge, prior removals, criminal activity, misrepresentation and fraud, unlawful presence in the U.S., and many other things.

Luckily, when someone is in this situation, they have the option to request a waiver, respectively Form I-601 or Form I-601A. This form, also known as the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility gives a non-citizen the right to immigrate to the U.S., get admission in a nonimmigrant status or get a status adjustment to permanent residence.

The form is great for those who cannot immigrate to the U.S. based on some grounds of inadmissibility. I-601 can be found on the USCIS website.

The form has 12 pages and requests a lot of information from the applicant. The positive part is that the questions are straightforward so giving an answer will be very easy. They are mainly about you, as well as your family in the U.S.

Once the application is completed, the applicant should double-check it to make sure all the answers are correct. It can either be printed out and completed in black ink or filled online.

Form I-601 or Form I-601A?

Form I-601 should be used for a waiver in case the applicant has been found ineligible to enter the U.S. This ineligibility would apply to adjusting the U.S. status or entering the country.

If you were found ineligible based on certain grounds of inadmissibility, you should settle for Form I-601. Of course, it is important to check the instructions of the application to find out the admissibility grounds that can be waived by it based on your visa category.

Meanwhile, if you are an applicant in the U.S. who has an immediate Green Card or U.S. citizen family members like a spouse or parents and you entered the U.S. illegally, you should use Form I-601A.

You’ll have to be outside of the U.S. to apply for the Green Card, and you will have to go to a U.S. consulate or embassy. Applying for a waiver of inadmissibility to go back to the U.S. is also a must if you do not want to deal with the 3 or 10-year entry ban.

With Form I-601A, it’s important to apply for it while you are still in the U.S. The USCIS will look over it and decide if it will be approved or denied. If the application is approved, then you will be able to go to a Green Card appointment in your country.

Form I-601 Requirements

Form I-601 comes with a few requirements that you must meet if you want to be eligible for a waiver. There are specific grounds for inadmissibility set by the Immigration and Nationality Act. On top of that, the inadmissibility categories cannot be applied for all visa categories. It is important to make sure your visa is eligible to apply before filing any form.

Here are the requirements for Form I-601:

  • You are an Adjustment of Status applicant under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief
  • You are an Adjustment of Status applicant to lawful permanent residence (some adjustment categories are excluded with this, though)
  • You are a K or V immigrant visa applicant, and you are not in the U.S. Also, you went to a visa interview with a consular officer and you were found to be inadmissible during this interview
  • You are a Temporary Protected Status applicant
  • You are an Adjustment of Status as a Violence Against Women self-petitioning applicant or a VAWA self-petitioning’s child
  • You are an Adjustment of Status applicant as a Special Immigrant Juvenile based on a Form I-360 that was approved
  • You are an Adjustment of Status applicant based on T nonimmigrant status

Form I-601A has different requirements, and knowing them could make it easier for you to make the difference between the two forms. Usually, one can use the Form I-601A application in these scenarios:

  • You are at least 17 years old when filing the petition
  • You are in the U.S.
  • You have a pending immigrant visa case with the U.S. Department of State (this has some key conditions too, though, so it is important to look more into it).

How to Apply for an I-601 Waiver

If you were found to be inadmissible to the U.S. for certain reasons, then you will probably have to apply for an I-601 waiver. You can either apply for it online or by mail.

In the first part of the application, you will have to offer some information about yourself, such as the location and date of your visa application and various other details.

Then, part two will ask you about your entry information like the date you entered, the port of entry, the state, and city you stayed in, the date you left, and a few other things.

Part three will ask for biographic information, and part four will ask for reasons for inadmissibility. In Part five, you’ll have to offer some information about your qualifying relatives.

Part 6 asks for details about other potential relatives you may have in the U.S., whereas parts 7-9 will require information from your interpreter if you had one. Then, part 11 will have to be completed by people who have class-A tuberculosis.

USCIS will adjudicate your application and tell you and the consular officer what the decision is. You will have to submit the form along with documentation that supports your waiver claim. Bear in mind that this may take a long time to process, about 31.5-34 months.

If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision, or you can file a motion in order to reconsider the decision or reopen it.

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Final Thoughts

Form I-601 can be very useful as a waiver if you were found inadmissible to obtain a U.S. Green Card. Make sure you complete it with accurate information, and you may be able to get your immigration document.

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