Posted on: 24 November 2014Share
Illegal immigration is a hot button topic these days in the U.S. While the country is seen as a land of opportunity for many, that opportunity can be cut short if the immigrant doesn't come to the U.S. through proper channels. One way to go from being illegal to having a legal presence in the U.S. is to file an I-601A waiver with the Office for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, it is not a simple document that just any immigrant can fill out and have filed. Here are three things you need to know about having an I-601A waiver filed.
1. You must have a family member who is a legal U.S. resident who can sponsor you.
It used to be that any immigrant who was found living in the U.S. illegally was immediately deported back to their home country. Now, however, that is not always the case. If you have a family member who is living in the U.S. legally, then can sponsor you for the I-601A waiver, which will allow you to continue living in the U.S. while you get everything in order for your visa. If you don't have a family member who is in the U.S. legally, then you will not be eligible to file this waiver and will have to seek other means of staying in the country legally.
2. You will have to go back to your home country for certain parts of the process once approved.
If your I-601A waiver is approved, you will get to stay in the U.S. while most of the process for your visa is accomplished. However, you will need to return to your home country for any interviews and to receive your visa and other documentation. There is no way around the requirement of going back to your home country for this part of the process, so you need to be prepared to travel whenever your attorney advises you that you need to be there. If you miss the interview in your home country, it can torpedo your efforts to stay in the U.S. legally.
3. You will have to pay a significant amount of money to file the waiver.
One thing that almost always stands in the way of eligible immigrants to file the I-601A waiver is the cost involved. Not only does the waiver itself come with a price tag, but so does the attorney you hire to help you file for it. The fee that the U.S. government charges for the waiver is currently $585, but you have to pay an additional $85 for biometric services if you are younger than 79 years of age.
Then, the immigration attorney you hire to help you with your case will charge a certain amount for preparing the waiver to be filed. Some attorneys will charge a flat fee for this service, but more often you will be charged by the hour. Preparing the I-601A waiver to be filed can be very complex, so you can look to spending several thousand dollars when everything is said and done - with the average being from $5,000 to $11,000.