The I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, which is used to overcome various barriers to receiving a green card or visa, can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. This article discusses the version issued 12/23/2016, set to expire 3/31/2017.
This application can seem intimidating at first. It is 13 pages long and asks for a lot of information. Fortunately, most of the questions are straightforward in that they primarily ask about you and your family in the United States.
When you complete the I-601 application, you need to type or print your answers in black ink. You are required to answer every question where a space is provided. If a question does not apply to your situation, you must answer with “N/A” or “None”. If you need to include an addendum to your application, make sure you sign and date each additional sheet of paper used for it.
How you submit the I-601 depends on what type of application for a visa or immigration benefit you are submitting. In some cases, where you know in advance that you will be found inadmissible, you may be able to submit it before the immigration authorities have requested it, in conjunction with your visa or other application. In other cases, you will need to follow instructions from whatever immigration-related agency or consulate told you that you were inadmissible and gave you the opportunity to apply for a waiver.
Part 1 of the I-601 application asks for information about you. Questions 1 through 14 ask for your basic contact and citizenship-related information.
Question 15 asks about the date and location of your visa application. This refers to applicants outside the United States who applied for an immigrant visa at the consulate and were denied because of their ground(s) of inadmissibility. If you are inside the U.S. and applying for a green card through the process known as "adjustment of status," say "yes" to Question 16 and fill in your USCIS receipt number (found on the Form I-797 you received after mailing in your application packet).
This asks for details about your current as well as prior stays in the United States. If you are not currently in the U.S., leave Question 1 blank. For every stay, you will need to write in the date you entered, your immigration status then, the port of entry (for example, the city where your plane landed), the city and state you stayed in, the dates of your stay, and the date you left. If you can’t remember the specific details of each stay, include an affidavit with your application that states you recorded this information to the best of your ability.
Here, you fill out basic identifying information. For "Race," Hispanics usually check "white."
Now we come to the crux of the reason you have to submit this application. If you have already attended a visa interview or adjustment of status interview, you may have already been told. Check the appropriate box or boxes. Also understand that not every category of visa or green card applicant is subject to all the grounds of inadmissibility, which is why there are separate sections for different categories of applicants. If, for example, you are applying for a green card after having held a T visa, you can skip Section A and go straight to Section B.
At the end of Part 4, you are given the opportunity to describe the reasons why you are inadmissible in your own words. A text box is provided for this purpose.
If your waiver is approved, it will only be for the grounds of inadmissibility that you indicated on this form. If you neglect to identify all grounds of inadmissibility, your waiver may end up being useless.
Waivers of inadmissibility are generally available only if you have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent, or child in the United States who qualifies under the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) for your particular ground(s) of inadmissibility--and in most cases, who would suffer some level of hardship if you were denied the waiver.
The form initially asks for basic biographic information about one qualifying relative. If you have more than one qualifying relative, you must check the box under Question 8 and provide information aboutthem in Part 10.
If you are applying for a waiver as the fiance of a U.S. citizen, you will write “prospective spouse” as your answer to Question five, which asks you to identify your relationship with the qualifying relative. If you are the child of a fiance of a U.S. citizen and you will be less than 18 years old at the time your parent marries, you will write “prospective stepchild” for Question five. If you will be at least 18, but less than 21 years old, you will write “child” for Question five.
Question 9 offers a bit of space to describe the hardship--but this is the most important part of the application, and this space is too small to give a full answer. Your best bet is to prepare a separate statement. An attorney can help with this important task.
Part 6 of the I-601 asks for information about any other relatives you have in the United States who are not qualifying relatives.
You will sign the I-601 application in Part 7 of the form. If you used an interpreter, that person must fill out and sign Part 8. If you had an attorney or third party complete the application for you, that person will complete Part 9 of the form.
This part of the I-601 application is completed only by applicants who have a Class A Tuberculosis Condition. This part of the form includes three statements that must be signed by you, your physician, and a local or state health officer who recognizes your physician for the purpose of providing care for tuberculosis. This page also asks for the address where you plan to reside while in the United States.
Your I-601 application must include documentation that supports your claim for a waiver. The instruction packet for Form I-601 provides an overview of the types of supporting documents that must be submitted for the waiver you are applying for.
It is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney when preparing an I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. An attorney can assist in collecting the best evidence to support your arguments. An attorney can also prepare a legal summary to support your case and to serve as a guide for the adjudicating officer.