The Form I-601 and I-601A waivers are similar, yet, distinct. While the former addresses grounds of inadmissibility, the latter addresses only one ground of inadmissibility: unlawful presence. Get help so you don’t mix them up.
Entry into the United States is dependent on fulfilling certain conditions. Aside these conditions, there are certain grounds that bar access into the U.S. Where a person falls under any ground of inadmissibility, USCIS bars their entry into the United States. This remains firm unless and until an applicant files Form I-601 waiver to waive such grounds.
Think of a waiver as “forgiveness.” You’re admitting that there is something in your background (usually a criminal record, or lying on a previous immigration form) that makes it impossible to get a green card. So you have to prove that not getting your green card will cause extreme hardship to certain family members.
The “problems in your background” are what we mean when we say “ground of inadmissibility.” A waiver cures, or forgives, those grounds of inadmissibility.
However, not all grounds of inadmissibility are forgivable! And even if you qualify to apply for forgiveness, there’s no guarantee it will be forgiven. (Just like applying for admission to a university: just because you are allowed to apply doesn’t mean you’ll be admitted.)
Form I-601 helps secure the waiver of applicable grounds of inadmissibility. However, it is only open to select persons. The categories of persons to whom the Form I-601 applies to include:
Also known as the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, Form I-601A assists aspiring immigrants who are relatives of U.S. citizens or LPRs. It helps secure a waiver that allows such visa applicants to stay in the U.S. pending their departure for an application for an immigrant visa. (Note: Form I-601A is not used to file for a waiver in conjunction with an I-485; it presumes that the person will have to leave and consular process.)
Form I-601A caters to persons who are ineligible on grounds of unlawful presence, but have relations to a U.S. citizen or LPR.
People in the following categories may file the Form I-601A:
Note: Form I-601A is a standalone application. This means that you cannot file it alongside other Forms. Failure to file the Form alone will lead to rejection, and a repeat of the application process.
Aside from the differing nature of both forms, they differ in terms of their filing fee. While Form I-601 has a filing fee of $930, Form I-601A comes with a filing fee of $630, and further requires a biometric fee of $85, which is not a part of the I-601.
Also, while you can file Form I-601 alongside other applications, you cannot file Form I-601A with other applications.
If you are (or were) in removal (deportation) proceedings, the process for an I-601A is more complicated. You cannot file it without having those proceedings administratively closed, a prospect that has become much more difficult due to changes wrought by the Trump administration.
The process will depend on which federal circuit you’re in. And once an I-601A is approved, the removal proceedings must be terminated. This is complicated! Do not attempt to try to reopen or close your own removal proceedings – this is playing with fire. Call us first and we will advise you.
If you’ve read up to this point, then congratulations! You’ve solved half the problem.
However, be that as it may, a write-up and self help is no substitute for professional legal intervention. Get professional help!
Your case determines what form you’re to fill. To avoid error, rejection and a repetition of the whole process, contact The HMA Law Firm
Schedule an appointment with our excellent immigration attorneys today.