The general rule for completing an I-601 or I-601A application is to document everything that you can. Following is an incomplete list of the kinds of documents that you might need. Some of them might not apply to you (you will not need a marriage certificate if you are not married, for example), and there may be some documents not listed below that you may need due to your specific circumstances. Use your common sense.
Documents from Your Qualifying Relative and the Petitioner of Your Immigration Application
Your qualifying relative (who may or may not be the sponsor of your immigration visa application) should submit the following documentation, to the extent that it applies to your particular case:
- A signed, notarized affidavit detailing how you met, what your relationship is, and how he/she would suffer hardship if your waiver is not granted.
- Proof of your qualifying relative’s US citizenship or permanent resident status – a certified copy of a birth certificate proving birth in the US, a copy of his/her US passport, green card or naturalization certificate.
- Certified copies of birth certificates for your parents and children, to the extent that these are applicable;
- Letter from an accountant describing any financial hardship that your qualifying relative would suffer if you were removed from the US;
- Letter from a doctor detailing any serious medical problems that your qualifying relative suffers from;
- Passport photos of your qualifying relative and the petitioner of your immigration application (your I-130 petitioner if you are applying based on family relationship, for example)
Documents from You
You will need to submit the following documentation, and perhaps other documentation as well:
- A signed, notarized affidavit confirming the contents of the affidavit submitted by your qualifying relative – how you met, what your relationship is, and how he/she would suffer if your waiver application is denied. Use your own words — these two documents should not be carbon copies of each other.
- A copy of every page of your passport.
- A certified copy of your birth certificate, with a certified translation if necessary;
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married.
- Photos of you, your qualifying relative and any children, together at social occasions (if your spouse is your qualifying relative) to prove your family relationship;
- Copies of any documents proving any previous divorces (thereby establishing the legitimacy of your current marriage); and
- Copies of any immigration documents that you have received (a copy of Form I-130 filed on your behalf would be especially useful, if your immigration will be based on family relationship).
Documents from Other Sources
Do your best to obtain the following documentation from third-party sources:
- Documents proving adverse conditions in your home country (news reports, United Nations reports, etc.);
- Character references from doctors, priests, police officers and other prominent members of the community attesting to your good character and your contributions to your community (there will be most credible if submitted in affidavit form);
- Copies of any awards you might have won (“Employee of the Month”, for example), and
- Any other documentation that you believe might strengthen your application.
Any documents not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation. Additionally, it is best that any letter you submit be signed and notarized, in affidavit form whereby the writer swears to the truth of the statements therein under penalty of perjury. In general, you should prepare your application as if it were a court case and you are required to prove every statement you make with documentary evidence. Remember – too much is better than not enough.