601 vs. 601A Waiver of Inadmissibility explained

601 vs. 601A Waiver of Inadmissibility, involves considering the grounds of inadmissibility, your location, and more. Understanding the differences between these two waivers is crucial. This is important for anyone looking to overcome inadmissibility obstacles. It helps secure a favorable immigration outcome. In this post, we will explain what these waivers are. We will also explain how they differ. Additionally, we will provide guidance on determining which one might be right for your situation.

What is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

A waiver of inadmissibility allows individuals deemed inadmissible to the United States to overcome this obstacle and pursue their immigration goals. Inadmissibility can occur for various reasons, including criminal history, health-related issues, fraud or misrepresentation, and unlawful presence. When an individual is found inadmissible, they are generally barred from entering or remaining in the United States. However, by applying for a waiver, they may obtain an exception based on specific criteria. This allows them to continue their immigration process.

Overview of the 601 Waiver

The 601 waiver, also known as the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, is intended for individuals who are outside the United States or who are undergoing immigration proceedings and have been found inadmissible. Here are the key points:

  • Eligibility: The 601 waiver is available to individuals who can demonstrate that their inadmissibility would result in extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, such as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.
  • Application Process: Applicants must submit Form I-601 along with supporting documentation that proves the qualifying relative would face extreme hardship if the applicant is not granted the waiver. This may include evidence of financial, emotional, medical, or other significant impacts.
  • Typical Scenarios: Common scenarios where the 601 waiver is applicable include individuals who have been found inadmissible due to previous immigration violations, certain criminal convictions, or health-related issues.

Overview of the 601A Waiver

The 601A waiver, also known as the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, is designed specifically for individuals physically present in the United States. They need to leave the country to obtain an immigrant visa. They have accrued unlawful presence that would make them inadmissible upon their return. Here are the key points:

  • Eligibility: The 601A waiver is available to individuals who can demonstrate that their departure would cause extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. Applicants must be in the United States at the time of application.
  • Application Process: Applicants must submit Form I-601A along with supporting documentation that proves the qualifying relative would face extreme hardship if the applicant is not granted the waiver. This process occurs while the applicant is still in the United States, allowing them to remain with their family during the adjudication.
  • Typical Scenarios: Common scenarios for the 601A waiver include individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S. and are required to attend a visa interview in their home country. The waiver helps avoid the risk of a prolonged separation from their family.

Key differences 601 vs. 601A Waiver

Understanding the key differences between the 601 and 601A waivers can help applicants determine which waiver is appropriate for their situation. Here are the main distinctions:

  • Eligibility criteria:
    • 601 Waiver: Requires the applicant to demonstrate that their inadmissibility would cause extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, who can be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. This waiver is applicable for various grounds of inadmissibility, including criminal history and health-related issues.
    • 601A Waiver: Specifically targets unlawful presence. Applicants must show that their absence would cause extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. It is only applicable for the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.
  • Application process:
    • 601 Waiver: Can be filed from outside the United States or during immigration proceedings within the U.S. The process requires extensive documentation to prove extreme hardship. It can be more complex due to the varied grounds of inadmissibility it covers.
    • 601A Waiver: Must be filed while the applicant is in the United States. The process is streamlined to address only unlawful presence, allowing applicants to stay with their families during adjudication. If approved, the applicant can leave the U.S. for their visa interview with provisional approval to return.
  • Location requirements:
    • 601 Waiver: Applicants can be either outside the U.S. or within the U.S. during immigration proceedings when applying for this waiver.
    • 601A Waiver: Applicants must be physically present in the United States at the time of application and remain in the U.S. until they depart for their visa interview abroad.

How to choose the right waiver

Choosing between the 601 vs. 601A waiver depends on several factors related to your specific situation. Here are some important considerations to help you determine the right waiver for you:

  • Grounds of inadmissibility: Identify the specific grounds of inadmissibility affecting you. If your inadmissibility is due to reasons other than unlawful presence, such as criminal history or health-related issues, the 601 waiver is likely more appropriate. The 601A waiver specifically addresses the issue of unlawful presence.
  • Location: Consider where you are physically located. If you are in the U.S. and need to leave for a visa interview but have accrued unlawful presence, the 601A waiver allows you to apply from within the U.S. You can stay with your family during the process. If you are outside the U.S. or in immigration proceedings within the U.S., the 601 waiver is necessary.
  • Family ties and hardship: Assess the impact of your absence on your qualifying relatives (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent). Both waivers require proving that your inadmissibility would cause extreme hardship to your qualifying relatives, but the specifics of the hardship and the evidence required may differ.
  • Consulting an immigration attorney: Given the complexities and nuances of immigration law, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is crucial. An attorney can provide personalized advice based on your circumstances. They can help you gather necessary documentation. Also, they will guide you through the application process to improve your chances of success.

How to Apply for a Waiver?

Applying for a waiver of inadmissibility, whether it’s a 601 or 601A waiver, involves several critical steps. Here’s a guide to help you understand the application process:

Steps to apply for the 601 Waiver

  1. Determine eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the 601 waiver, which generally requires demonstrating that your inadmissibility would result in extreme hardship to a qualifying relative.
  2. Gather documentation: Collect all necessary documents that support your claim of extreme hardship. This may include medical records, financial statements, psychological evaluations, and personal affidavits from family members.
  3. Complete form I-601: Fill out the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601). Be thorough and accurate in providing your information.
  4. Submit the application: Submit Form I-601 along with the required fee and supporting documentation to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office designated for your location.
  5. Await decision: USCIS will review your application, which may take several months. They may request additional information or schedule an interview if needed.
  6. Respond to requests: If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) or schedules an interview, respond promptly with the required information.

Steps to apply for the 601A Waiver

  1. Determine eligibility: Verify that you qualify for the 601A waiver, which is intended for those with unlawful presence in the U.S. and can demonstrate extreme hardship to a qualifying relative.
  2. Gather documentation: Assemble evidence to support your claim of extreme hardship. This can include medical records, financial documents, and affidavits from family members.
  3. Complete form I-601A: Accurately fill out the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (Form I-601A).
  4. Submit the Application: Send Form I-601A along with the appropriate fee and supporting documents to USCIS. Include all required documents to avoid delays.
  5. Await Decision: USCIS will process your application, which typically takes several months. You will be notified of their decision.
  6. Prepare for Visa Interview: If your 601A waiver is approved, you can leave the U.S. for your visa interview abroad with provisional approval to return. Ensure all your paperwork is in order for the interview.

Tips for both applications

  • Seek legal assistance: Consider consulting an immigration attorney to help you navigate the complexities of the application process and ensure all your documentation is in order.
  • Follow instructions carefully: Adhere to the instructions provided by USCIS for each form. Mistakes or omissions can lead to delays or denials.
  • Keep copies: Maintain copies of all submitted forms and supporting documents for your records.
  • Stay informed: Regularly check the status of your application through the USCIS website and be prepared to respond to any requests for additional information.

Conclusion

Understanding the differences between the 601 vs. 601A waiver of inadmissibility is crucial for navigating the U.S. immigration process successfully. The 601 waiver suits a broader range of inadmissibility issues. It can be applied from outside or within the United States during immigration proceedings. In contrast, the 601A waiver specifically addresses unlawful presence. It allows applicants to remain in the U.S. while their waiver is processed.

Choosing the right waiver involves several considerations. First, assess the grounds of inadmissibility. Next, consider your location. Also, evaluate the impact on your qualifying relatives. Seeking professional legal advice is crucial. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can determine the best course of action. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact me at Financial Legal Group.


written by Alexander Alfano
Alexander Joseph Alfano is the Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Financial Legal Group INC. He's a distinguished lawyer in since 1993, specializes in financial services, immigration law, nonprofit corporations, and civil cases.