By: Shah Peerally Esq.

The I-601 Waiver is used by foreign nationals or non-U.S. citizens, even those holding green card, who have a certain history that necessitates the I-601 waivers in order to be allowed to enter or even simply remain in the United States.

Many non-U.S.-citizens and their families who are citizens have encountered problems where they realized that a non-U.S.-citizen family member can be prohibited for a certain time period (which may be as long even 10 years) from entering the U.S This is usually done because of specific history, which falls under categories such as- certain medical conditions, committing certain crimes, certain period of illegal presence in the U.S., fraud for obtaining immigration benefits in the U.S, deportation under US law, abandonment irrespective of whether it was intentional or not.

It is an extremely difficult situation for foreign nationals or the non-U.S.-citizens who maybe already stranded abroad as a result of the time bar, to wait for the time needed to apply for the waiver, which involves I-601 waiver or I-601 extreme hardship waiver.

Hiring an I-601 waiver experienced immigration lawyer may be useful here. Even while the immigration regulations have no defined rules for what falls under “extreme hardship” for I-601 waiver to be applicable, even those which are defined like that of mental stress or health problems or economic inconvenience, often fall under the discretion of the immigration officer. The lack of uniformity of the standards which constitute “extreme hardships” along with the wait-time for an I-601 waiver to come into affect makes it difficult for people to negotiate it. This makes most such family separations unreasonable, painful and uncertain.

Thankfully a recent up gradation of the USCIS regulations announced that ‘certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens present in the United States, who are in the process of seeking immigrant visas with the Department of State to become lawful U.S. permanent residents, may apply and be approved for provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews. USCIS will begin accepting provisional unlawful presence waivers on March 4th, 2013. ’

On the 30 th of March, 2012, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) requested public suggestions on a plan that was about to implement important changes in the application process that is currently applicable for those who have accrued unlawful presence in the United States. Currently, the system needs the applicant to step outside the US for a visa interview, and then file for the extreme hardship waiver, which causes further delay in being reunited with their loved ones till the time when the waiver has been approved.

Applying for the new I-601A extreme hardship waiver permits an applicant to remain in the United States before the completion of the visa application process. Once the waiver application is filed in the US, and an approval, is got the applicant then needs to step out of the country for a scheduled visa interview. This makes the process quicker as the waiver has already been completed.
In a nut shell, the provisional waiver allows people to remain in the United States even during the process of adjudication, which was not the case before. The whole aim here being to streamline the visa application process and prevent people from being separated for long periods. However the provisional I-601 extreme hardship waiver is applicable only to some people in the United States.

How an immigration lawyer can help you with I-601/ I-601A Waivers

The foreign national who wishes to apply for an I-601 waiver must make an estimate whether it is worth pursuing the waiver or not. This can be best done by an immigration lawyer who can tell him the available options. An experienced and qualified immigration attorney will make a professional assessment based on the individual’s unique circumstances.
It is therefore recommended that all applicants for the regular I-601 or the I-601A need to have an experienced immigration lawyer for I-601 waiver with them through this process because, the provisions that must demonstrate that separation from a qualifying relative, which can be a parent or spouse remains as ambiguous. If you are not able to prove that the case of extreme hardship is actually genuine, you may not qualify.

The immigration lawyer for I-601 waiver will work with the client to determine which arguments are strongest, and what kind of documentation the client requires to support eligibility for a waiver. If required, the attorney will perform background research and include reports on applicant’s home country conditions. An immigration lawyer for I-601 waiver ensures the quality of documentation, in particular, the affidavit of hardship made by the qualifying relative. The attorney will also draft a brief, if necessary, to organize the arguments and evidence so as to present a clear and convincing case, so that the application is approval worthy.
The officer who reviews the application usually makes a decision on your waiver processing within a short time frame. A well-organized, professionally fashioned waiver application can therefore, make a difference between approval and denial.
Contact Us
To discuss I-601 immigrant visa waivers or explore your options for applying for an I-601 waiver set up an appointment with one of our experienced immigration lawyers from the Shah Peerally Law Group PC You can contact us by email or call us at 510-742-5887.