According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the median waiting period for Form I-601 approval in 2022 is approximately 31.3 months. The time for processing has experienced a steady rise over the last six years and has seen huge increases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2018, it took around 4.5 months, 8.7 months in 2019, then 11.2 months in 2020, and 17.1 months in 2021. The processing time depends on various factors, including where the form was filed, current caseloads, and whether your form is complete.
Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
When you are not eligible for a standard visa, you may need to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Applicants may complete the form online or print it and fill it out by hand.
The form is 12 pages long and should be filled out completely, answering each question. If USCIS sends you a Request for Evidence, it may delay the processing. For questions that don’t apply to you, you should mark them “N/A” (non-applicable).
You will be notified by an immigration agency or your consulate when a waiver is required. You can submit the form from within the U.S. if you are already here or outside the U.S. if you are requesting to enter the country.
Filing Costs for Form I-601
The current filing costs are $930. You may make the payment via a USCIS lockbox using a credit card, with Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card transactions.
Payments by check are also accepted. Make all checks payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
All filing fees are non-refundable, even if you withdraw your waiver request.
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Why You Might Need a Form I-601 Waiver
If you have been advised that you need to submit a Form I-601 Waiver, you likely fit into one of the categories outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Section 212:
- Criminal activity
- National security risk
- You have a disease that may create public health concerns
- You are likely to become a burden to the U.S.
- No labor certification
- You previously attempted fraud or misrepresented yourself to immigration officials
- You have been deported previously
Immigrations may be found inadmissible for additional reasons, including:
- Prior abuse of a student visa
- Illegal entry into the U.S.
- Failure to appear at an immigration or deportation hearing
- Practicing polygamy
- Former U.S. citizen who gave up citizenship for tax evasion purposes
- Unlawful voting
- Committing crimes such as money laundering, smuggling, or human trafficking
- Engaging in terrorist activity
If you are a victim of criminal activity, you may not be required to file Form I-601. In that case, an immigration attorney could best advise you.
When to Use Form I-601
If you fit the following categories, you may use Form I-601 to request a waiver to enter the U.S.:
- If you are applying for a K-1, K-2, K-3, or K-4 nonimmigrant visa
- When applying for adjustment of status
- If you are living outside the continental U.S. and were found to be inadmissible after a meeting with a consulate
- If you are applying for Temporary Protect Status (TPS)
- If you are a Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) applicant
- Applicants under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
- Self-petitioners using the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- Applicants for V nonimmigrant visa
- Applying for T nonimmigrant visa holders filing for AOS if you were found inadmissible for a reason not already waived for the T nonimmigrant status
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When to Use Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver
If you are applying for a visa and have immediate relatives who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, you might use Form I-601A. This is for people with inadmissibility requesting a waiver who are already in the U.S. as undocumented aliens or illegally and need to travel to their country of origin to conduct a visa interview.
An example of a qualifying individual would be a man married to a U.S. citizen and with children who are citizens. If he originally came to the U.S. illegally, he must file a waiver of inadmissibility (Form I-601). Approval of Form I-601A prevents having an automatic bar placed on him.
He can file Form I-601A to request immediate readmission to the U.S. following his visa interview. Without approval, the man might have to wait three to ten years to return to the U.S. and his family.
Expedited Processing Outside the United States
Sometimes, a person may request expedited processing of Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. The individual must be located outside the United States when requesting expedited handling.
There are strict criteria for using this process. It is often helpful to obtain the assistance of an immigration lawyer.
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Contact New Frontier Immigration Law for Help
Immigration law can be confusing. New Frontier Immigration Law is available to assist you and your family with all your immigration needs. If you need immigration assistance in or around Phoenix, Arizona, the team at New Frontier Immigration Law will fight for your immigration rights. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.