Understanding Why You Were Denied Entry and Your Recourse: I601 & I601A Waivers

Usually, a foreign-born spouse can have their petition for a visa approved and they can enter the United States with their husband or wife. But in my capacity as an immigration attorney, I’ve found that matters get complicated when a spouse is found to be inadmissible due to various criteria that determine they are not eligible to enter the country (or your spouse is in the country but entered without a visa). This is when a foreign-born man or woman who is married to a United States citizen turns to the I-601 or I-601A Hardship Waiver in an attempt to gain admittance to the United States with their spouse.


As an immigration attorney, I’ve found that the most common reason for someone being turned down in their visa process and being termed “inadmissible” has to do with their entering without a visa (the legal term is entering without inspection).

Additionally, an overstay of 180 days will result in a person being barred for three years and a 365-day overstay garners a decade-long ban. Either of these violations requires a waiver if the spouse hopes to stay in the United States or reenter the country if they left the U.S.

The three or ten-year bar is in effect once the person leaves the United States. If an individual has an overstay of less than 180 days, then no waiver is needed to be granted a visa. If your spouse entered the United States lawfully but overstayed s/he could stay in the United States and adjust status to lawful permanent residency (green card) without leaving the United States.


There are various other reasons for prohibiting individuals from entering the United States Here is a partial list:
  • ➤ Falsely claiming United States citizenship
  • ➤ Addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • ➤ Have a dangerous mental or physical disorder
  • ➤ Have a communicable disease
Committed serious criminal acts, such as:
  • ➤ Drug trafficking
  • ➤ Moral turpitude
  • ➤ Prostitution
  • ➤ Are unable to support him/herself and will become a charge of the state


The recourse that I help people take in my practice as an immigration attorney is to file an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601 or Form I601A depending upon whether or not you qualify for the provisional unlawful presence waiver). Please note that as of March 4, 2013, you are now allowed to file for the I601A provisional waiver in the United States. The law requires that the US citizen files the waiver and the spouse who is an American citizen will also need to prove that not allowing their partner to reside in the United States will result in “extreme hardship.”

In my I-601 hardship waiver process article, I address the basic process involved in I-601 and I-601A Hardship Waivers. Please contact the Ranchod Law Group in Sacramento California, if you have any questions regarding or want to start the process of applying for an I601 or I601A hardship waiver. We serve clients across the United States and at United States Embassies worldwide. To schedule a consultation, contact us at (916) 613-3553, email us at info@ranchodlaw.com, or fill in the form below.

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