i601 waiver approved visa denied

Visa Denied After I-601 Waiver Approved For Inadmissibility

If you are found to be inadmissible after your visa interview, you have the option to apply for the I-601 waiver. USCIS makes this waiver available for certain applicants who are otherwise ineligible for a US visa based on inadmissibility. Before applying for the waiver you need to know exactly why you were ineligible for the visa.

The most common reasons for the I-601 waiver:

  • Previous overstay of visa
  • Previous illegal entry
  • Communicable disease
  • Multiple criminal convictions
  • Fraud/misrepresentation
  • Prostitution

If your case falls under any of these grounds for inadmissibility, prepare to file for the I-601 waiver. If you aren’t comfortable doing the research (such as reading this post), you may prefer to spend the money to have an attorney fill out the form for you. Immigration attorney will charge between $5,000 – $11,000 to complete the I-601 waiver. This doesn’t guarantee that your waiver will be approved but will have someone who is familiar with the process look over the application.

Remember, there is a fee for the waiver of $930 so make sure that you fill it out correctly and submit all supporting evidence. I’ve known people that had to file multiple I-601 waivers because their lawyers made mistakes that caused them to be denied. If you do use a lawyer, make sure to review the application before it’s sent to USCIS.

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Requirements For I-601 Waiver Approval

You may feel that you aren’t qualified to applying for the I-601 waiver due to fears of being denied if incorrectly submitted. Guess what? As long as you follow the guidelines for the waiver and submit all the required documentation, you can submit a successful I-601 waiver. You don’t necessarily need an immigration attorney to get approved.

But, if you don’t feel comfortable applying on your own you should talk to an attorney. I’m going to summarize the process but you want more details, you can ready this post about the I-601 waiver.

The waiver process may differ a little bit depending on whether you’re overseas or applying within the US (I-601A waiver).

i601 waiver process
Image: USCIS

Step 1: Attend visa interview

Normally, you won’t know whether you’re inadmissible until after the visa interview. It’s common for immigrants to complete surprised by this finding and not know why. It could be due to a previous overstay in the US decades ago or lying on a past visa application.

It’s always in your best interest to be honest with immigration officials to avoid problems coming up later.

Step 2: Consular officer determines you’re ineligible

After the interview, the consular officer will let you know that you’re ineligible for the visa you applied for because you are inadmissible in the US. Even if you qualify for the visa otherwise, it can’t be issued to you because inadmissibility trumps the visa approval.

The consular officer will then tell you that you can apply for a waiver form I-601 and if approved, you’ll get your visa.

Step 3: You file for I-601 waiver (and I-212 if required)

Now it’s time to file the I-601 waiver with USCIS. You may want to check if you also need to file form I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply After Deportation/Removal) if you’re inadmissible under section 212(a)(9)(A) or (C). This only applies if you have ever entered the US without inspection (i.e. illegally) and were ordered removed from the US.

Forms to include:

  • I-601 – Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
  • G- 1145 – E-notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  • Fee of $930
    • Fee waiver available for Vawa/T visas/TPS

You can find the filing address here for the I-601 waiver.

Prove extreme hardship:

  • US relative has severe medical condition that requires your care
  • US relative suffers from severe mental health condition that requires your care
  • Your home country is currently at war and you fear being sent back
  • Your elderly parents are dying and you need to care for them

Step 4: USCIS processes your waiver

USCIS will review your application for the waiver and determine whether you are eligible. There is no specific time frame for approvals but they normally complete within 4 months.

Step 5: Final I-601 decision

Once USCIS makes a decision on the I-601 waiver, they will issue an approval or denial to both you and the foreign consulate. If you are approved, then your visa application will continue to be processed.

If you are denied the waiver, you can appeal the decision with Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) within 30 days. The appeals process is quite a it longer, about 6 months. Some applicants decide to just reapply with more evidence instead of waiting for the appeal to be reviewed.

Note: If your I-601 waiver is approved within one year of your interview, you don’t need to attend another interview to be issued a visa.

I-601 Waiver Approval Notice

i601 waiver approvedWhy Your Visa Was Denied After I-601 Waiver Approved

Although it’s not all that common to be denied the visa after the provisional waiver has been approved, it does happen. The reason for denial is not the reason you were found inadmissible but for a completely different reason. If the consulate officer has given you form 221(g) administrative processing, you have the opportunity counter their decision.

Your visa may have been denied because the consulate officer still believes that your case isn’t valid or you weren’t being honest. Unfortunately, an approved hardship waiver is no guarantee that the visa will be approved.


Sometimes the consulate officers believe that your case is not accurate or believe there is some fraud being perpetrated. This type of denial happens a lot more in high fraud countries such as Nigeria. It’s unfortunate because it’ll be difficult to try to get the officer to change their mind if they have a “hunch” that they are being lied to.

You can of course submit additional evidence that you qualify for the visa as well as supporting documentation to prove your case.

Criminal Convictions

Multiple criminal convictions can doom some applicants to be denied after the I-601 waiver is approved. If you filed for form I-601 to waive the criminal conviction that has made you ineligible, then the consulate may have found additional convictions in your background.

The I-601 waiver can be used for:

  • prostitution
  • unlawful commercialized vice whether or not related to prostitution
  • a crime of moral turpitude
  • simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana
  • multiple criminal convictions with an aggregate sentence of confinement of at least five years, or
  • a serious criminal offense in a case where you asserted immunity from prosecution, left the United States, and refused to submit to the jurisdiction of a U.S. court.

Other Reasons For Denial

Some adjudicators will deny a K1 visa if they believe that the relationship isn’t real. It’s your responsibility to prove that you have a genuine relationship by providing proof of ongoing relationship. This can include photos, emails, call records, flight details etc. If you can’t prove that you are in a real relationship for love, you’re likely to be denied the visa.

If you’re applying for a student visa, you may be denied if the consulate officer believes that you are not intending to go to school in the US but instead work illegally. The visa interview is very important because it gives the consulate officer the chance to review your answers and body language.

You should prepare for the interview as well as you can. Honesty is the best policy here no matter what you think the consulate officer wants to hear.


Lisa came unlawfully entered the U.S. with her two children, who were two and four years old at the time. The U.S. consulate would find her subject to the ground of inadmissibility for smuggling the children. This is true even though they are her biological children.

Anthony has been in the U.S. for 4 years on a work visa. He obtained an tourist visa many years before that and wrote on the visitor visa application that he was married because he had heard that the consulate only approved visas for young men who were married. He lied on his application as he was single at the time. If Anthony applies for an immigrant visa (green card), the U.S. consulate will likely find him inadmissible due to misrepresentation (or fraud).

Maria came to the U.S. without inspection, stayed for three years, and then went back to her country of origin to see her father, who was seriously ill. She came back to the U.S. without inspection again three months later. She is subject to a ten-year bar that can’t be waived. For her to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, she will need to stay outside the U.S. for ten years first. The provisional waiver will not help her.

Final Thoughts on Visa Denial After I-601 Waiver Approved

If one thing is for sure, there are no guarantees when it comes to the USCIS. You could submit the perfect visa petition and waiver application, but that doesn’t mean that you will be approved. Consulate officers have a lot of power at the interview and many of them rely on their “gut feeling” to make the final decision.

Yes, they have probably been interviewing hundred if not thousands of people and can tell whether someone is being truthful. But in all honesty, you’ll know how the visa interview is going and hopefully willing to ask the consulate officer questions of your own.

If your I-601 waiver has been approved but the nonimmigrant visa is denied, find out why. You may be sent a letter that outlines why you were denied the visa and it probably had nothing to do with the waiver. Once you know why your visa was denied, you can work on strengthening your case to reapply or appeal the denial decision.

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