Complete Guide to the I-601 Waiver

Updated on April 10, 2024

Being found inadmissible to the U.S. is one of an immigrant’s worst nightmares. You may have committed some violations that prevent you from getting a green card. Therefore, you may be thinking of filing the i-601 Waiver, respectively the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. It may be a challenging document to complete, so you may not know how to start.

If you are about to file the I-601 waiver, this post will help you understand it better and also offer you guidance for the application process.

What Is an I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility?

The I-601 is the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. It is a form that people must file if they are inadmissible to the U.S. and want a status adjustment, immigrant visa, certain nonimmigrant statuses, or specific benefits related to immigration. When filing this form, one can get a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.

Applicants who have been denied a green card or different immigration benefits can submit the waiver to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, asking that their inadmissibility grounds are waived.

Now, not everyone is eligible for a waiver. Whether someone qualifies or not will be influenced by what made them inadmissible to the U.S. and what benefit they are applying for.

What Are the Requirements for a Waiver?

There are two forms that can be used: the form I-601 waiver and Form I-601A waiver. They are similar, but they have some differences as they must be filed in different situations.

There are specific grounds for inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act. That being said, not every visa category will qualify for the inadmissibility categories. This means that you will be able to apply for a waiver for specific categories based on what type of visa you wish to obtain.

To use an I-601 waiver, one would have to:

  • Be an Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent residence applicant, even though a few adjustment categories are excluded from this.
  • Be an immigrant visa or Adjustment of Status applicant as a self-petitioner under the Violence Against Women Act, or a VAWA self-petitioner’s child.
  • Be a K or V visa or an immigrant visa applicant, and be outside the U.S., having had your interview for the visa with a consular officer and having been found inadmissible during this interview.
  • Being an Adjustment of Status applicant as a Special Immigrant Juvenile based on a Form I-360 that was approved.
  • Being a Temporary Protected Status applicant.
  • Being an Adjustment of Status applicant under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief.
  • Being an Adjustment of Status applicant based on T nonimmigrant status.

How to Apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility

Do you have to complete the USCIS Form I-601? You might be confused at first when seeing all the questions, but they are pretty straightforward. The form can be printed out and written on with black ink, or one can fill it on their computer and print it out. You also have the option to fill it in online.

Here is how you must complete the different parts of the application:

Part 1. Information About You

Part 1 of the form is about your personal details. Basic information related to your citizenship and your contact details will be requested in questions 1 through 14. If you’ve never lived in the U.S., certain questions may not apply to you.

For example, the only way you’d have an Alien Registration number is if you applied with USCIS for specific immigration benefits or if you obtained a green card before. The same thing applies to the Social Security Number.

On Question 15, you will have to give the location and date of your visa application. This involves applicants who applied for an immigrant visa at a consulate outside the U.S. but were denied under certain grounds of inadmissibility.

On question 16, you should answer with “yes” if you applied for adjustment of status and you are inside the U.S. Fill in the USCIS receipt number as well.

Part 2. U.S. Entry Information

You now have to offer information regarding your present and past U.S. stays. Question 1 can be left blank if you’re not in the U.S. at the moment.

It’s essential to write the date you entered the U.S., port of entry, your immigration status at the time, the dates of your stay, the state and city you had to stay in, and the date you left the U.S. Bear in mind that you must also add other potential places you’ve lived in.

Part 3. Biographic Information

Basic identifying information will have to be added here, such as your race. Hispanics say that “white” is the closest description for them.

Part 4. Reasons for Inadmissibility

Obviously, here you will have to talk about why you are inadmissible to the U.S. You must know the reason if you have attended an interview for a visa or adjustment of status before. You should check the right box or boxes.

When you reach the end of this part, you have to use your own words to describe why you are inadmissible. If the waiver gets approval, it will apply to the inadmissibility grounds you specified on the form. But if you do not mention everything, the waiver will not be able to help you.

There are also different sections for different applicant categories, as not every green card or visa category is subject to all inadmissibility grounds. Skip to the right section based on what you are applying for.

Part 5. Information About Your Qualifying Relatives

Inadmissibility waivers are available for individuals who have a relative in the U.S. who qualifies under the Immigration and Nationality act for your specific inadmissibility grounds, like a parent, child, or spouse.

You will be asked for biographic information about a certain qualifying relative, and if you have more than one relative, you must look under Question 8 and check the box there. In Part 10, you will have to offer information about them.

On question 5, you should write “prospective spouse” if you’re applying for a waiver as a U.S. citizen’s fiancé. Meanwhile, you should write “prospective stepchild” if you are the child of a U.S. citizen’s fiancé and when the parent marries you will be younger than 18. You can only write “child” if you will be at least 18 but less than 21, though.

You could talk more about your hardship at Question 9 since it offers more space. You may also prepare a separate statement since the space may not be enough for a full answer, though.

Part 6

In part 6, you’ll have to talk about potential other relatives you may have in the U.S. Connections to U.S. citizens or permanent residents could help you a lot, especially if they are your children.

Part 7-9

Part 7 must be signed by you, and if you used an interpreter, Part 8 must be filed by them. Meanwhile, Part 9 must be filed by your paralegal, attorney, or another third party that may have completed the application on your behalf.

A Note About Part 11. Applicants With Class A Tuberculosis

In part 11, only applicants with a Class A Tuberculosis condition should answer. There will be three statements, one requiring your signature, another the signature of your physician, and the last one the signature of a state or local health officer.

Here, you will also have to offer the address where you intend to stay while in the U.S.

Required Documents for I-601 Waiver

Documentation must be included with your waiver too. This includes certified copies of birth certificates, copies of passport pages, copies of marriage certificates, photographs of you and qualifying relatives at social occasions, a signed notarized affidavit that confirms the contents of the affidavit that your qualifying relative submitted, and many others. You may also need documents from your qualifying relatives.

Your application for the waiver must include the documentation that can support your claim. An overview of the supporting documents can be found in the Form I-601 instructions.

Read More

Final Thoughts

An I-601 waiver can help a lot if you were found inadmissible to the U.S. Make sure to complete it correctly and bring the right documents. We hope this article has helped you find out more about this form and its purpose.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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