What is the 601 Waiver?

The 601 waiver is a document intended to allow individuals who are deemed inadmissible to the U.S. to request a waiver to remain in America while they apply to adjust their status within the country.

The Old Law Regarding Inadmissible Immigrants

Before recent changes in the law, an immigrant who was inadmissible to the US (for reasons that include illegal presence, contraction of certain diseases and the conviction of a serious criminal offence) was required to return to their country – sometimes for many years at a time – to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver.

  • If the immigrant illegally resided in the U.S. for anywhere between 180-365 days, then they would be subject to a 3 year travel entry bar to the US.
  • If they had been in the US for more than 365 days, they would be subject to a 10 year travel entry bar.

What Does the 601 Waiver Allow?

This new 601 waiver strongly promotes family unity by giving the immigrant the opportunity to obtain a waiver of the 3 or 10 year bar, provided certain conditions are met.

If the applicant has forged family relationships with a U.S. citizen whilst illegally remaining in the U.S., the 601 waiver permits the individual to apply for an unlawful presence waiver while they remain in the United States. The applicant is still required to attend their immigrant visa interview abroad, but it honors any established families and relationships that the immigrant has created in the US by preventing lengthy and tedious separations.

Qualifying for a 601 Waiver

To qualify for the waiver, the applicant must be able to prove that their inadmissibility to the United States causes "extreme hardship" to a US citizen (usually a spouse, fiancée or parent). "Extreme hardship" is defined by the law as going well beyond the personal and financial hardship that would arise if the applicant alone was required to leave.

The applicant generally must prove that the US citizen's life would change for the worse – whether geographically, financially, medically, scholarly or otherwise – if they were required to leave the United States to remain together. The applicant would want as much evidence as possible to support the waiver, such as letters, tax records and certification.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also consider the following factors:

  • Applicant must be present in the U.S. when they file for the waiver.
  • How long the applicant has been in the U.S.
  • Whether the applicant has any property or business ties.
  • Whether the applicant contributes to community services.
  • Reasons why the applicant is inadmissible.

Before filing the application, individuals should be aware that having a waiver granted can be very difficult for the layperson. This is a specialized matter which is best handled by an experienced New York immigration lawyer.

Don't hesitate to contact our NYC immigration firm for more information today. Free consultation!

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