I-601 Inadmissibility Waivers


What is an I–601 Waiver?

A foreign–born individual seeking a visa to enter the United States may be deemed inadmissible under United States immigration law for one reason or another.

In such cases, despite the condition of ineligibility for admission to the United States, it may still be possible for that individual to obtain the needed entry visa under what is known as an I–601 Inadmissibility Waiver, a term that refers to United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) form I–601, titled “Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.”

The “Extreme Hardship” Requirement

I–601 waivers may be granted for a variety of reasons, and apply to different types of entry visas. The condition for obtaining such a waiver is if the visa applicant can demonstrate that failure to grant the visa will result in an “extreme hardship” to the United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse or parent of an I–601 waiver applicant.

There is no set formula for obtaining a waiver; instead, the granting or denying of a waiver is at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The “extreme hardship” requirements are very stringent. First, applicants must bear in mind that the “hardship” in question refers only to the United States citizen or LPR who is residing in the United States, and not to the applicant. The applicant for the waiver must demonstrate that the hardship to the United States resident (a spouse or parent of the applicant) will occur not only if the applicant is not admitted to the United States, but that it will also occur if that spouse or parent relocates to the country in which the I–601 applicant resides.

Further, the applicant must support the claim of hardship by documentary proof, or by a sufficiently detailed explanation of the purported hardship with adequate evidence to support the explanation.

What Qualifies as an “Extreme Hardship”?

Naturally, a child or spouse of a United States resident who is barred from visiting their parent or spouse may find the separation emotionally trying or may find that it creates some financial difficulties. However, these difficulties, by themselves, do not suffice to meet the definition of an “extreme hardship” for purposes of an I–601 waiver regardless of how close the relationship is between the separated parties; neither are speculative or perceived harmful enough.

Instead, in order to overcome the disqualification imposed by the condition or conditions that led to inadmissibility, the I–601 waiver applicant must generally document some other factor which demonstrates hardship, such as an ongoing medical condition that requires special care or treatment; financial hardships created by caring for an elderly, infirm, or special needs parent or child; or other factors that suggest that the separation presents special and extraordinary difficulties that amount to an extreme hardship.

You Should Consult an Immigration Attorney to Assist with an I–601 Waiver

It is usually very difficult for United States visa applicants in foreign countries to understand the nuances of United States immigration law. This is especially true when it comes to seeking an I–601 waiver, whose purpose is to demonstrate to United States immigration officials that the condition which makes an individual excludable from entry into the United States should be set aside.

If you or someone you know is seeking to aid a spouse or child in obtaining an I-601 waiver, it is important that they retain the services of an immigration attorney to assist them. An attorney can help both the United States resident and the foreign–citizen I–601 applicant to understand the hardship requirements, and help them to assemble the necessary documentary proof or explanation required to demonstrate hardship. In addition, because the I–601 Waiver application is submitted at the United States Embassy or Consulate that is processing the application, an attorney’s help is especially critical in assisting I–601 applicants with the consular process.

Providence and Boston immigration attorney George Barsom of the Barsom Law Group can assist in obtaining an I-601 waiver.  Furthermore, because immigration law is federal law, he can handle an I-601 waiver for U.S. residents living in any state, not merely the State of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 

Mr. Barsom is fluent in Arabic and the Barsom Law Group has access to attorneys who are fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. 

The Barsom Law Group can give you and your family members peace of mind in undertaking this difficult and potentially frustrating and time-consuming task. Once hired, the Barsom Law Group will take over the application process from beginning to end, keeping clients informed, and taking the stress out of the process. If you need assistance handling a I-601 waiver application for a family member, contact the Barsom Law Group.

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