Written by attorney Nicklaus James Misiti

I-601-A Waiver of Inadmissibility FAQ

Is there a new law regarding aliens who entered the United States illegally?

It is not a new law but a new policy. The policy allows the person who entered the country illegally to apply for an I-601-A waiver of inadmissibility while they are in the United States, if they qualify.

Do I need an attorney to file for this waiver?

There is no requirement you use an attorney but it is highly recommended. First the waiver is extremely complex and will be difficult to get approved. Second, you only get one chance at the waiver, this means that if you apply and make a mistake, you cannot appeal. Third, depending upon your exact situation there may be consequences such as deportation if you misfile your case.

What is an I-601-A Waiver?

A common misconception non US citizens have is that they can easily solve their immigration problems by marrying a US citizen. In certain cases this may be the answer, however, if the non US citizen is deemed to be "inadmissible" they are going to have further complications. In such situations an I-601-A waiver of grounds of inadmissibility may be appropriate.

When is an I-601-A Waiver needed?

The reason people need a waiver is that they entered the country illegally or triggered the 3 or 10 year unlawful presence bar by overstaying there visa.

What do you need to show to obtain an I-601-A Waiver?

Generally an I-601-A waiver will require a showing that a "qualifying" US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative would suffer "extreme hardship" if you are not allowed to enter the US and why they cannot follow you to your country.

Who is the qualifying relative?

It depends but generally the relative must be a spouse, or parent, who is a US citizen or LPR.

What is Extreme Hardship?

Extreme hardship is more than the difficulties a couple would normally have if separated.

Some factors that the government considers are:

HEALTH – A physical or mental condition that requires continual treatment.

FINANCIAL – Future employability and financial losses if the waiver of inadmissibility is not approved.

PERSONAL – Hardships that close relatives will suffer if the waiver of inadmissibility is denied.

EDUCATION – If education goals cannot be met, it may be a factor considered toward extreme hardship.

SPECIAL FACTORS – Cultural, language, religious, and ethnic issues.

Can anyone file a 601-A waiver request?

No, there are certain inadmissibility issues which cannot be waived or which cannot be waived with a 601-A waiver. You need to speak with an immigration attorney to determine if an I-601-A waiver is correct for you or if there are any other options.

Additional resources provided by the author

How do I pursue an I-601-A waiver? Please do not attempt to file this yourself. This can lead to complications and possibly deportation. You will need to find a qualified professional to help you with this. The first step is to determine if it is even a viable option for you.

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