I-601 Centralized: What You Need to Know

Filing for Form I-601, an application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, has been centralized as of June 4, 2012. Persons who cannot qualify for an immigrant visa because they cannot be admitted to the US without a waiver must file an I-601 if they are qualified.

Filing Applications

Applicants who are located outside the US must now apply for Form I-601 through a USCIS Lockbox; the application is then delivered to the Nebraska Service Center for adjudication. Applicants in Mexico will have the choice of submitting their application to the USCIS Lockbox, or to the USCIS Ciudad Juarez Field Office during the first six months of the organizational change. When the six-month period is over, applicants in Mexico must submit through the USCIS Lockbox in the US.

Applicants in Cuba will still be able to file through the USCIS Havana Field Office; adjudications will carry on at this field office.

Compelling Circumstances

Sometimes there are compelling circumstances for which USCIS will make an exception and where the USCIS Field Office Director will accept and decide Form I-601 locally. Such exceptions could be,

1. Medical emergency of the applicant or qualifying family member which requires immediate travel;
2. Imminent threats to the personal safety of the applicant or qualifying family member;
3. A beneficiary is within a few weeks of aging out of visa availability;
4. A petitioner has adopted a child locally and has an imminent need to depart the country.

Tips for Filing at the USCIS Lockbox

To reduce the likelihood of your Form I-601 being rejected, follow these tips:

• Read the form filing instructions, ensure that the form is neat and legible, and keep all entries within the spaces provided on the form.
• Use the current form version, and mail all pages of the form.
• If completing the form by hand, only use black or blue ink, and avoid highlighters and correction fluid.
• Submit all required documentation or evidence as indicated in the form instructions.
• Sign the form in the correct section. The signature must be in the original and in the correct section, or the form will be rejected.
• Pay the correct fee. USCIS cannot refund the amount of any overpayments. Checks or money orders must be payable in U.S. dollars.
• Complete the entire form as indicated in the instructions. Form I-601 will be rejected if any of these fields are missing:
– Family Name
– Address
– Date of Birth
– Signature in Part D
• Form I-212 will be rejected if any of these fields are missing:
– Last Name
– Address
– Signature in Part V

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney
Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri

Tara Mahadevan

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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