Pitfalls for the Unwary: Mistakes that Could Delay or Even Doom Your I-601A Waiver Application
It would be unfortunate if your I-601A application were to be refused due to a simple mistake or oversight. In most cases, such a mistake will result in a significant delay in the processing of your application. In more serious cases, you could end up stuck overseas with no way to return.
Following is a list of some of the most common easily avoidable mistakes that people often make when filling out the I-601A application:
Failing to Include All Supporting Documents
Do your best to document every statement on your application. If you are unemployed, for example, you should have someone execute an affidavit of support guaranteeing that they will provide for your financial support in the U.S., so that you will not have to rely on public assistance. If your qualifying relative is your spouse, you will need to provide a marriage certificate. Original documents or certified copies are always better than photocopies.
Failing to Pay the Immigrant Visa Filing Fee and Send the Receipt to the USCIS
To obtain an I-601A waiver, you will have to deal with both the USCIS and the Department of State. These two bureaus are not always aware of what the other one is doing. You must not only pay the Department of State (DOS) Immigrant Visa (IV) fee, you must also provide a copy of the payment receipt with your I-601A waiver application to prove to the USCIS that you have paid this fee.
The amount of this fee varies according to the basis upon which you are applying for immigration (immediate relative sponsorship or employment in the U.S., for example), but it generally amounts to several hundred dollars.
Failing to Answer All Questions on the Application
After you have completed the application, be sure to review it carefully to make sure you have not accidentally skipped a question. Failure to answer every question will result in your application being returned to you. If the form doesn’t provide enough room for you to fully answer the question, provide another sheet and staple it to the application.
Forgetting to sign the application is a surprisingly common error that could result in significant delays in processing your application. Your application will certainly be returned to you, and you will have to begin the process all over again.
Leaving the US Without Resolving Other Grounds of Inadmissibility
You can obtain an I-601A waiver of inadmissibility, which will overcome a 3-year or 10-year bar, even if you have other inadmissibility issues such as a serious criminal conviction. If you don’t resolve these issues before you leave the U.S. (by filing for a I-601 waiver), your waiver could be revoked while you are overseas, resulting in you being unable to return to the U.S. despite having received an I-601A waiver. Some grounds of inadmissibility cannot be waived at all.
Recently there has been an increase in the number of approved I-601A applicants who have been denied permission to return to the US on the grounds that they are likely to become a “public charge”, which means that they are likely to rely on public assistance such as welfare payments in order to support themselves.