What are immigration Waivers?

Render illustration of WAIVER title on Legal Documents. Legal concept.

Lawyer for Waiver in Colorado

Immigration waivers are legal remedies that can be used by a person in the process of an immigrant visa, adjustment of status or some non-immigrant statuses to “forgive” certain grounds of inadmissibility to the United States.

There are currently 10 different waivers in the immigration world, but we will talk about the most common ones: I-212, I-601, I-601A.

1. Waiver I-212

It is an application for permission to reapply for entry into the United States after having been deported or removed. In other words, if a person is inadmissible because  was deported and wishes to return, they should apply for this form which would give them a chance for the U.S. government to allow them to return.

It is important to consider that the petitioner should NOT enter the United States until its I-212 application is approved.

This waiver can be requested during the course of the punishment imposed depending on the circumstances and offense committed by the immigrant who has been deported. There are penalties ranging from 3, 5, 10 and 20 years abroad without being able to return to the U.S. and is set according to the reasons for deportation and/or crimes committed.

¡Important!  The I-212 waiver allows only certain immigrants to apply for permission to re-enter the United States before serving the punishment imposed on their deportation.

Before applying for an I-212 waiver, consult with an expert immigration attorney to verify your eligibility and assist you in the process, as it is not that simple to complete.

2.Waiver I-601

This waiver is used when the immigrant wishes to obtain permanent residence in the United States and has a cause of inadmissibility for crimes or felonies such as: moral crimes, drug possession, prostitution, contagious, physical or mental illnesses, lack of vaccinations, immigration fraud, among others.

To qualify for the I-601 waiver, the immigrant must have at least one U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative, such as a spouse, parent or child, who can demonstrate extreme hardship if the beneficiary does not obtain the waiver.



3.- Waiver I-601A

The I-601A waiver is used when the immigrant wishes to obtain Permanent Residency and does NOT have a criminal record or any grounds of inadmissibility, the only offense being having entered the United States illegally.

This waiver is used when the immigrant is living in the United States and has a consular process – interview at the consulate of its birth  country – to apply for Permanent Residency.

Who can apply for an I-601A Waiver?

Those immigrants who has entered the U.S. without border inspection, and who

  1. Has a U.S. resident or U.S. citizen spouse.
  2. Have a U.S. citizen or resident parent.

¡Importante! For both -I-601 and I-601A waivers-, the process is very invasive, involving a great deal of scrutiny, evidence, briefs and documents necessary to support your application, and it is a process that takes at least 2 years to be approved. In both cases extreme hardship must be proven for U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members should the immigrant be missing at any given time. 

4.- How long can it take for waivers to be approved?

After COVID, the waiting time for approval of an I-601A Waiver, for example, ranges from 24 to 31 months, depending on where you applied.

If you have been waiting longer than 31 months and have not received a response, you may want to consult with Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine the reasons for the delay in your case.

5.- Where can I check the time it takes for the Pardon approval?

If you have submitted an I-601, I-601A application, you can check the time it takes for your approval at the following and entering your case number at: 

Link: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ and entering your case number at:  https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do

Who doesn’t need a Waiver?
  • Individuals who entered the United States without documents, who have a family member in the Armed Forces and/or veteran.
  • Persons who entered the U.S. without documents, who have protection under 245(i).
  • Persons who entered the U.S. without documents, and who have suffered domestic violence or psychological abuse (VAWA).
  • Persons who entered the U.S. without documents under the age of 21.
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