I-601 Filing Fee: Your Guide to Waiver Costs and Payment Process

The I-601 filing fee is a mandatory payment required by individuals applying for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility in order to gain immigration benefits in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes the I-601 form, and the fee supports the cost of adjudicating the application. Incorrect or incomplete fee submissions may result in the rejection of the form, underscoring the importance of adhering to the fee guidelines set forth by the USCIS.

Filing fees are a standard part of many immigration forms and their timely and accurate payment is critical to the processing of applications. For individuals seeking to adjust their status or be admitted to the United States while overcoming grounds of inadmissibility—such as certain criminal violations, immigration fraud, or previous immigration violations—the I-601 waiver and its accompanying fee are essential. The fee is subject to change and can be influenced by regulatory revisions.

Illustration of assembling required supporting documents for a visa

For individuals seeking to adjust their status or be admitted to the United States while overcoming grounds of inadmissibility—such as certain criminal violations, immigration fraud, or previous immigration violations—the I-601 waiver and its accompanying fee are essential. The fee is subject to change and can be influenced by regulatory revisions.

Applicants interested in filing Form I-601 must ensure they meet the eligibility criteria and follow the filing instructions carefully. The necessary information includes an evidence checklist and specific guidelines for special cases. Moreover, applicants may be required to submit additional biometric information, for which separate fees and procedures apply. It is advised that applicants review the most current USCIS guidelines to confirm the current filing fee and ensure compliance with all procedural requirements.

Overview of I-601 Waiver

The Form I-601, officially titled “Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility,” serves as a critical tool for individuals deemed inadmissible to the United States. Applicants who are seeking certain immigration benefits, such as immigrant visas or adjustment of status, may need to request this waiver if they are found inadmissible under specific grounds defined by immigration law.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The waiver application is relevant for those with a specified inadmissibility issue.
  • It hinges on the immigration benefit the person seeks and the nature of the inadmissibility.

Filing Fees

  • As of May 2023, the filing fee for the I-601 waiver is $930.
  • This fee is subject to change and is non-refundable.
  • Payment is accepted via check or money order.

Important Considerations

  • Applicants must properly complete the Form I-601 and provide comprehensive evidence supporting their case.
  • Any misrepresentation or submission of false information may result in denial of the waiver and other immigration benefits.

This waiver plays a vital part in the immigration process, allowing individuals who would otherwise be ineligible to pursue opportunities in the United States. Applicants are advised to follow the precise instructions for filing the form and ensure they fall within the appropriate categories for waiver consideration.

Eligibility Requirements for I-601

In assessing eligibility for the I-601 waiver, one must consider the specific relatives who qualify to be petitioners and the types of inadmissibility grounds that may be waived. Understanding these requirements is crucial for a successful waiver application.

Qualifying Relatives

To apply for an I-601 waiver, the applicant must have a qualifying relative who would experience extreme hardship if the waiver were not granted. A qualifying relative must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) who is either the applicant’s:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Child (if the child is at least 21 years old)

Grounds of Inadmissibility Being Waived

The I-601 waiver can address multiple grounds of inadmissibility, which include but are not limited to:

  • Health-related grounds
  • Criminal and related grounds
  • Security and related grounds
  • Illegal entry and immigration violations
  • Misrepresentation during the immigration process

Each ground of inadmissibility requires evidence that the denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to the qualifying relative.

I-601 Filing Fee Details

The I-601 filing fee is a mandatory payment for those seeking a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility to the United States. It is important for applicants to understand the exact amount, accepted payment methods, and any eligibility criteria for a fee waiver.

Current Fee Amount

The current fee for filing Form I-601 is $930. This amount applies to most applicants and must be paid at the time of filing.

Payment Methods

Applicants can pay the I-601 filing fee using the following methods:

  • Personal check
  • Money order
  • Cashier’s check

All payments must be made to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, drawn on a United States financial institution, and payable in U.S. currency.

Fee Waiver Eligibility

Certain applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver. To qualify, they must demonstrate that they:

  1. Are unable to pay the filing fee due to financial hardship
  2. Meet certain income thresholds or financial conditions

Applicants must file a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request with supporting documentation to be considered for a fee waiver.

Application Process

The application process for filing Form I-601 involves a standardized submission procedure, adherence to document requirements, and, for some applicants, a biometrics appointment.

Form I-601 Submission

Applicants seeking a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility must accurately complete Form I-601 and submit it along with the correct filing fee. The current filing fee for Form I-601 is $930. It is crucial to use the latest version of the form and to follow the submission guidelines provided by USCIS.

Supporting Documents

Along with the completed Form I-601, applicants must include supporting documents that provide evidence for the waiver request. This often entails substantial documentation detailing the extreme hardship that would be caused to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident should the applicant not be admitted to the United States.

  • Proof of relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Detailed explanation of the extreme hardship
  • Any additional supporting letters or affidavits

Biometrics Appointment

Some applicants will be required to attend a biometrics appointment where fingerprints, photos, and signatures are collected to conduct background and security checks. USCIS will notify the applicant of this requirement and provide instructions on when and where to appear for the appointment.

Processing Time and Checking Status

The processing time for the I-601 waiver application typically ranges between 4 to 6 months. However, this is an average estimation, and the actual time may vary depending on the case’s complexity and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) caseload.

Applicants can check the status of their I-601 waiver by:

  1. Visiting the USCIS website and selecting the ‘Check your case status’ option.
  2. Entering their application receipt number, which USCIS provides after filing the form.

It is essential for applicants to keep their mailing address up to date with USCIS to receive any correspondence or notifications regarding their case. If an applicant needs to update their address, they can do so through the ‘Update your mailing address’ feature on the USCIS website.

In the event that normal processing times are exceeded, applicants have the option to:

  • Inquire about a case outside normal processing time through the USCIS website.

Lastly, for missing mail or to correct any typographical errors in USCIS communications, applicants should contact USCIS directly using the provided tools on the USCIS website. It is crucial for applicants to ensure accurate and timely communication with USCIS to avoid delays in their application process.

Potential Outcomes of I-601 Application

When an individual submits an I-601 application, they should anticipate one of three primary outcomes: approval, denial, or the opportunity to engage in the appeal process. The result hinges on the thoroughness of the application and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate extreme hardship.

Approval

If an I-601 application is approved, the applicant receives a waiver for their grounds of inadmissibility. The approval effectively overcomes certain obstacles that previously impeded their eligibility for an immigration benefit, such as an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. Approval hinges on a compelling demonstration of extreme hardship to qualifying U.S. relatives, which may include, but is not limited to, U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents.

Denial

Upon denial, the applicant’s waiver request is rejected, and the grounds of inadmissibility stand, potentially barring entry into the United States or the acquisition of certain immigration benefits. Common reasons for denial include insufficient evidence to establish extreme hardship or failure to meet eligibility requirements. Denial can have significant implications on the applicant’s immigration journey, and they should proceed with awareness of their limited options.

Appeal Process

If the I-601 application is denied, the individual has the option to initiate an appeal process. The applicant may file a motion to reopen or reconsider with the office that issued the original decision. It is crucial to adhere to strict deadlines and provide additional evidence or arguments to support the claim. This process is procedural, and it is incumbent on the applicant to understand the grounds and the procedural framework for the appeal to be considered and potentially overturn the denial.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When applying for an I-601 Waiver, applicants should be vigilant to avoid errors that might compromise their application. Below are key mistakes that individuals often make and how to avoid them:

  • Incomplete Applications: Ensure that every section of the application is complete. An incomplete application can lead to delays or outright denial.
  • Insufficient Documentation: Applicants must include all necessary supporting documents. Missing documents can significantly weaken the application.
  • Incorrect Fee Payment: It is crucial to pay the correct filing fee for the I-601 Waiver. Verify the current fee on the official USCIS website and follow the payment instructions carefully.
  • Non-English Documents Without Translations: Submit only English documents or provide a certified translation for any document not in English.
  • Qualifying Relative Statement: The hardship statement should be from the Qualifying Relative, not the Applicant.

Here’s a brief checklist to assist applicants in staying organized:

Checklist Item Status (Done/Pending)
Complete all sections of the form [ ]
Compile all supporting documents [ ]
Ensure payment of the correct filing fee [ ]
Include translations for non-English documents [ ]
Confirm hardship statement source [ ]

By paying attention to these details, applicants can increase the likelihood of a smooth and successful I-601 Waiver application process.