All About I-601 Waivers of Grounds of Inadmissibility


What is the I-601 Waiver?

The I-601 waiver is an application that is filed by individuals who are ineligible to gain admission to the United States as an immigrant, or who cannot adjust their status in the United States to become a permanent resident, because they are barred from the United States. The I-601 waiver is essentially a form that is filed to gain permission to apply for permanent residence in the United States or gain admission through an immigrant visa. This form will allow individuals to obtain relief from the following grounds:

  1. Health-related grounds of inadmissibility (INA section 212(a)(1))
  2. Certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility (INA section 212(a)(2))
  3. Immigration fraud and misrepresentation (INA section 212(a)(6)(c))
  4. Immigrant membership in totalitarian party (INA section 212(a)(3))
  5. Alien smuggler (INA section 212(a)(6)(E))
  6. Being subject to civil penalty (INA section 212(a)(6)(F))
  7. The 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the United States (INA section 212(a)(9)(B))

Who is Eligible?

Not everyone is eligible. To qualify, you must have what is called a “qualifying” relative who will be the focus of the petition. A qualifying relative includes a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent. In cases where a waiver is filed for certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility a qualifying relative may also include a child who is a U.S. citizen.

What is the Legal Standard of Proof?

The legal standard of proof in these cases is “extreme hardship.” Extreme hardship is not hardship to the immigrant (the person that is currently barred from the U.S.) the extreme hardship is to the U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse or parent.

What Does the Waiver consist of?

Proving Extreme Hardship

Proof of the qualifying relative’s strong ties to the U.S. to show that if the waiver were not granted, an extreme hardship would result if the qualifying relative would need to leave the U.S. to live with the intending immigrant abroad. For example, a qualifying relative who has lived in the U.S. for many years and only speaks the English language, would bear an extreme hardship if they were forced to re-locate abroad and have to find alternate employment/learn the language, etc.

Proof of Medical and Psychological Conditions

Extreme hardship can also be proven by showing medical and psychological conditions. For example, if the U.S. Citizen parent or spouse suffers from a serious medical condition like dementia, cancer, or other serious medical or psychological condition, those are conditions that can only be treated in the U.S., because they are currently being treated by a physician here, so having the parent or spouse leave the U.S. would create an extreme hardship that might result in serious pain or even death if they are unable to receive comparable treatment for their condition.

Important Positions of Employment

If the U.S. Citizen spouse or parent has a very important job in the United States, typically a highly skilled or professional type of job, such as a managerial position etc. having to leave the United States would result in an extreme hardship, because it would cause a devastating result on their career and greatly diminish their job opportunities. If the U.S. citizen spouse or parent has a business in the U.S. that many other people depend on, then that would also qualify as an extreme hardship.

Country Condition Reports

If the intending immigrant’s country conditions are such that they would create an extreme hardship on the qualifying relative if they were required to move there, that may be an additional factor that may weigh in favor of granting the waiver application. For example, certain countries suffer from a high incidence of violent crime such as countries in Central America, that may put the qualifying relative’s life at risk.

If you have a question regarding the I-601 waiver please contact our office.

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