The I-601 waiver can be used to challenge charges on ineligibility when trying to get a visa or change status to become a permanent resident. If you are ineligible to change your status or get a visa for permanent residence, you may can use the I-601 form to attempt to overturn your ineligibility. After submitting the form, the USCIS will review your form and notify you of any change in status.
If you are present in the U.S., file your I-601 waiver with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department ( USCIS). If you are not present in the U.S., you should file your I-601 form at the closest U.S. embassy or consulate. You may also file your I-601 with the USCIS “lockbox” in Chicago, but take care to follow the correct process for mailing in your waiver. If you do not follow the lockbox procedure, your waiver could be lost or significantly delayed.
The length of the application process for filing the I-601 will differ greatly by location of filing. If there is not a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in the country where you are applying, your application will be sent to the next closest office which can delay how quickly your I-601 waiver is reviewed. How many applicants apply at your application location may also change the speed of the filing process and may cause delays.
The filing process will require substantial writing in English. You should expect to explain the grounds of your ineligibility in detail on the waiver form. You should also be able to provide documentation of your ineligibility, such as copies of your medical records or diagnoses, criminal records, financial records, or other relevant documentation to the grounds you are contesting with your I-601 waiver.
When reviewing your I-601 waiver, the USCIS may consider any number of factors. Your immigration history in the U.S. and the length of time you have lived in the U.S. (documented or otherwise). They may also consider any criminal record, employment history in the U.S., or demonstration of good moral character. The USCIS may also consider any family ties to the U.S. already and whether or not denying your application will strongly negatively affect those relationships. You can include documentation of your kinship ties, including marriage or birth certificates and should demonstrate how your presence in the U.S. is necessary to these ties. The I-601 waiver can also be used to demonstrate that leaving the U.S. or being unable to immigrate will cause severe economic hardship that could otherwise be avoided. You should aim to demonstrate any of the above factors in your I-601 waiver and you can and should include documentation for these grounds.
There is a fee for filing the I-601 waiver, currently at $585 U.S. dollars. If you are entering the U.S. on some forms of refugee or asylum and are required to file the I-601, you may also be eligible for a fee waiver. You should contact the U.S. CIS to see if your current status is eligible for the fee waiver.