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What is inadmissibility and how do I know if I am inadmissible?

Individuals who are inadmissible are not permitted by law to enter or remain in the United States. The general categories of inadmissibility include health, criminal activity, national security, public charge, fraud and misrepresentation, prior removals, unlawful presence in the United States (overstaying your visa), and others. For certain grounds of inadmissibility, a person may obtain a waiver (or legal forgiveness).

Does everyone who falls under the inadmissibility categories need a waiver?

In some cases, even if an individual falls under a category of inadmissibility, no waiver is required. Some examples are: aliens who have been battered, abused or subjected to extreme cruelty, victims of severe forms of trafficking, and minors. Contact an experienced immigration attorney and find out if you need a waiver.

What do I have to prove to be granted a waiver?

Depending on the category of inadmissibility, you have to prove something different. The most common categories are entry without admission or parole or overstay. In these cases, the applicant must prove that a qualifying relative (spouse, parent, or child) who is a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder will suffer extreme hardship if the intending immigrant must return to his//her country of origin or if the U.S. citizen or Green Card holder has to relocate to the intending immigrant’s country of origin.

What is extreme hardship?

Extreme hardship means negative factors that are greater than what your qualifying relative (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent or child) would experience under normal circumstances if you were not allowed to enter or remain in the United States. The extreme hardship may be related to family ties, social and cultural impact, economic impact, health conditions, and/or conditions in the intending immigrant’s country of origin.

What is the difference between the waiver requested through form I-601 and I-601A?

The scope of Form I-601A is narrower than that of Form I-601, as the I-601A applies to waivers of provisional unlawful presence only. Form I-601, in turn, is used to waive other grounds of inadmissibility (that may be waived by law).

Another difference is that Form I-601A must be filed from inside the United States, allowing the intending immigrant to return to his/her country of origin to attend the consular interview. Form I-601 can be filed from outside or inside the United States.

When can I file I-601A?

Persons with an approved immediate relative petition who are in the United States and believe they are inadmissible only for unlawful presence in the United States, may be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. The intending immigrant must be seeking an immigrant visa through the consular process at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The I-601A can be filed after the Petition for Alien Relative is approved, the case is transferred to NVC and payment of the DS 260 fee for an immigrant visa is made (with receipt)

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