Centralized Filing and Adjudication for I-601, Applications for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

•· Applicant is Outside the United States

On and after June 4, 2012, immigrant visa applicants applying for a waiver of a ground of inadmissibility who are outside the United States will file an I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, by mail with a USCIS stateside Lockbox facility, rather than with a USCIS international field office, or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate as was previously required. The Lockbox facility will forward all I-601 applications submitted by international filers to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) for adjudication.

If an applicant is outside the United States and a Department of State consular officer has interviewed him or her at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and determined that he or she is ineligible for an immigrant visa based on a ground of inadmissibility, the consular officer will give him or her a refusal notice. This refusal notice indicates the ground of visa ineligibility and whether he or she is eligible to apply for a waiver. If the notice indicates he or she is eligible to apply for a waiver, he or she may apply for a waiver by filing an I-601waiver packet with the Lockbox.

The following exceptions apply to filing Form I-601 with the Lockbox facility:

•1. I-601 applicants in Cuba will continue to file their Form I-601 applications at the USCIS Havana Field Office due to mailing restrictions.

  1. USCIS international offices may allow certain I-601 applicants to file directly with a USCIS office outside the United States in certain cases for exceptional and compelling circumstances.

If an I-601 waiver applicant has already filed an I-601 waiver at a USCIS international office, he or she does not need to file a new I-601waiver at the Lockbox facility. However, if he or she chooses to file a new I-601 waiver at the Lockbox facility and still has an I-601 waiver pending with a USCIS international field office, USCIS will transfer the application pending with the international office to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). The NSC will combine the two applications and process them as one application. Filing a new I-601 waiver with the Lockbox will not necessarily result in faster processing for an I-601 waiver that is pending with an international office.

Please note, if an I-601 waiver applicant files duplicate applications with a USCIS international field office and the Lockbox facility, USCIS will transfer the application pending with the international office to the Nebraska Service Center, where the two applications will be combined for processing.

An I-601 waiver applicant's immigration attorney or the I-601 waiver applicant should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to make sure that his or her visa application is still open before filing an I-601 waiver at the Lockbox facility. If an immigrant visa application is still open and the applicant's I-601 waiver is approved, he or she may need to bring up-to-date certain documents associated with his or her immigrant visa processing if they have expired.

If an I-601 waiver applicant's medical exam or police clearance letter is outdated, USCIS does not require him or her to present an updated medical exam or police clearance letter before filing the I-601 waiver with the Lockbox. However, if the U.S. Embassy or Consulate needs the I-601 waiver applicant to resubmit certain documents to show immigrant visa eligibility, he or she must comply with the consulate's request before the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will issue his or her immigrant visa.

If an I-601 waiver applicant's previously filed I-601 waiver was denied and he or she has an appeal pending review by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), he or she is not required to file a new I-601 waiver with the Lockbox. However, he or she is also not proscribed from filing a new I-601 waiver with the Lockbox if he or she wishes to do so.

USCIS does not place a restriction on the number of times an I-601 waiver applicant may file an I-601 waiver.

The USCIS Lockbox facility will transfer all I-601 waiver applications submitted by international filers to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) for adjudication.

All I-601 waiver applicants will receive a receipt notice that contains a USCIS receipt number associated with their I-601 waiver application. This receipt number may be used to check the status of their I-601 waiver application online by entering the USCIS receipt number into the "Case Status" field located on the USCIS website home page. When the NSC reaches a decision on an I-601 waiver application, the NSC will send a decision notice to the address provided on the I-601 waiver application.

When an I-601 waiver application is approved, the NSC will notify Department of State consular staff at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the decision, and state the specific visa ineligibility ground or grounds that have been waived. Once the Consulate or Embassy staff receives this notification, the approved I-601 waiver applicant will be contacted about issuance of his or her immigrant visa.

If it has been a long time since the approved I-601 waiver applicant's initial visa interview, the U.S. Consulate may require the successful I-601 waiver applicant to resubmit certain documents or reappear for another interview to verify that he or she is still eligible for an immigrant visa.

If an I-601 waiver application is denied, the denied applicant will receive a denial notice at the address provided on the I-601 waiver application. A denied I-601 waiver may be appealed within 30 days of the decision by filing Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

An I-601 waiver applicant whose I-601 waiver is being filed with the USCIS Lockbox who believes he or she has urgent and compelling reasons to have the I-601 waiver expedited may attach a written request to have the I-601 waiver application expedited. If an applicant has already submitted his or her application to the Lockbox, an expedite request can be made by either contacting the Nebraska Service Center directly via email or by contacting the USCIS National Customer Service Center via telephone.

If an I-601 waiver application has already been submitted, an expedite request may to filed by postal service or email. If an I-601 waiver application is pending with an international USCIS office, that office can be contacted directly by postal service or email concerning the expedite request.

•· Applicant is in the United States and Eligible to Adjust Status upon Approval of an I-601 Waiver

If an I-601 waiver applicant is in the United States and entered with inspection, qualifies for 245(i), or has another basis for permitting adjustment of status despite entering the United States without inspection, an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility can be filed with the I- 485 Adjustment of Status application in the United States.

•· Applicant is in Removal Proceedings in the United States and Eligible for Relief from Removal if an I-601 Waiver is Approved

For aliens in removal proceeding who are eligible for I-601 waiver relief from removal, the immigration judge presiding over their case adjudicates the I-601 waiver application for waiver of inadmissibility as part of the merits hearing in immigration court.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York

To speak to an immigration attorney about your immigration goals, including obtaining an I-601immigration waiver in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, New York or anywhere in the United States, we welcome you to contact an immigration lawyer online or call 412-291-4400 | 215-880-4977 | 347-839-1700. Free consultations are available. We represent clients throughout the United States, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Allegheny County, and worldwide in Korea, Africa, India, and Pakistan.

From offices in New York City, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout the United States, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Allegheny County, and worldwide in Korea, Mexico, Africa, India, and Pakistan.