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I-601 Processing Times

I-601 Processing Times

By Julie Sparks in Visas and Green Cards | on 2023-07-20 20:27:49

Many applicants for U.S. immigrant benefits are surprised to find out they are “inadmissible” to enter or remain in the United States. Being inadmissible means, under U.S. immigration law, you have done something bad or have a condition for which you cannot be allowed to enter the United States or remain here lawfully. 

At J. Sparks Law, we have experienced immigration attorneys who help clients in the Austin area to successfully deal with their inadmissibility problems. Below, we provide general information about this inadmissibility problem. 

Visa form close up, fountain pen and denied stamped on a document. Soft focus.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies various grounds for inadmissibility. Some of the most common of these grounds include the following:

  • Health-Related. Having a communicable disease that is significant enough, not having documentation to show you have received vaccination against certain diseases which are preventable by vaccination, or having a physical or mental disorder can be grounds for being denied a visa or entry to the U.S.
  • Criminal and Related Grounds. Unless an exception applies, admitting, being convicted of, or attempting to commit a “crime involving moral turpitude” or violating controlled substance laws in the U.S. or outside of the U.S. One is also ineligible if convicted of 2 or more offenses other than purely political offenses for which the average sentence is more than 5 years.
  • Security and Related Grounds. Anyone reasonably suspected of coming to the U.S. to engage in espionage, sabotage, or to engage in unlawful activities against the U.S. government. 
  • Money Laundering. Anyone reasonably suspected of being engaged in bringing “dirty” money into the U.S. with intent to “clean” it in violation of federal laws. Dirty money is money that has not been obtained by legal means.
  • Illegal Presence in the U.S. If you have been illegally present in the U.S., meaning without valid immigration status, you may be subject to a 3 or 10-year bar which means you cannot get an immigration benefit such as a green card unless you leave the U.S. and remain outside the U.S. for up to 3 or 10 years.

There are many other grounds for inadmissibility, but the ones listed above are the most common affecting, especially those applying for green cards. If any of these or other grounds of inadmissibility apply to you, an experienced immigration lawyer can obtain a waiver of the inadmissibility. A waiver is asking the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to forgive the grounds of inadmissibility and make an exception to allow you to be granted a visa or admission into the U.S.

However, not all grounds of inadmissibility are waivable, meaning even though the USCIS can waive certain grounds of inadmissibility, there are others that cannot be waived. 

Examples of grounds of inadmissibility that are not waivable include:

  • Belonging to a terrorist group whose purpose is to engage in terrorism or having participated in carrying out a terrorist act in the United States 
  • Participating or having an intent to participate in espionage in the United States
  • Engaging in narcotics trafficking or being addicted to narcotics. 
  • Participating in human trafficking and smuggling
  • Engaging in polygamy.
  • Having committed an act of genocide.
  • Belonging to one of the Nazi parties.
  • Being involved in the international kidnapping of infants. 
  • Being considered a danger to American security.
  • Illegally and unlawfully impersonating an American citizen.

If any of these grounds of inadmissibility apply in your case, then you cannot even apply for a waiver. Your best option would be to consult an experienced immigration lawyer who can study your situation thoroughly and advise you whether you have any other options, which may include challenging the finding that you are ineligible on the claimed grounds.

I-601 Waiver Application 

If you are inadmissible or believe you may be inadmissible, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you obtain a waiver. This is possible if you fall into any of the following situations, among others: 

  • You are applying for an immigrant visa (green card) or the K or V visas outside the United States, you were interviewed by a consular officer, and the consular officer found you to be inadmissible.
  • You are in the U.S. and are applying for a green card unless you are among those for whom a waiver is not available.
  • You are in the U.S. and are applying for a green card under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief.
  • You are applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • You are in the U.S. and are applying for a self-petitioning Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) applicant or the child of a VAWA self-petitioner.
  • You are in the U.S. and applying for a green card based on T nonimmigrant status.
  • You are in the U.S. and are applying for a green card as a Special Immigrant Juvenile based on an approved special petition.

At Sparks Law, we have experienced immigration lawyers who can help you file the right paperwork to apply for a waiver of your inadmissibility. 

If you are inadmissible on the grounds that you were or have been unlawfully present in the U.S., then you will need to apply for a waiver with Form I-601A. The requirements for applying for this waiver are as follows:

  1. You are physically present in the U.S.
  2. You are at least 17 years old when submitting your application.
  3. Have an immigrant visa (green card) case pending with the Department of State that satisfies various other requirements.
  4. You believe you are inadmissible only for a period of unlawful presence in the U.S. that was more than 180 days but less than one year during a single stay or one year or more during a single stay. 

Speak with an Austin Immigration Lawyer Today

Whether you are applying for an I-601 or I-601A waiver, the average processing time for either application is between 31 and 34 months, and that is assuming you have filed a properly completed application free of errors or mistakes. If there are any errors or mistakes, the process could take even longer.

If you need a waiver of inadmissibility or for more information about how this waiver can help in your situation, contact J. Sparks Law, PLLC, today and learn how we can help you.

Julie Sparks

Julie Sparks is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 different countries.

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