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How to Expedite I-601
Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

immigration lawyer


The Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, is used by applicants for immigrant visas, non-immigrant fiancé visas, V visas, and adjustment of status to request a waiver of the following grounds of inadmissibility in the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA):

  • Section 212(a)(1)   – health-related grounds;
  • Section 212(a)(2) – criminal and related grounds,
  • Section 212(a)(3)(D) - immigrant membership in a totalitarian party;
  • Section 212(a)(6)(C) – misrepresentation in immigration matters;
  • Section 212(a)(6)(E) - smugglers;
  • Section 212(a)(6)(F) - subject to civil penalty;
  • Section 212(a)(9)(B)   – unlawful presence in the U.S. for at least 180 days, beginning on or after April 1, 1997, followed by departure from the U.S.


Recent USCIS Policy Memorandum

A recent USCIS Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidelines on how USCIS processes requests to expedite the adjudication of Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States.

USCIS managers overseas may, in extraordinary circumstances, exercise discretion to decide on a case-by- case basis whether to approve or deny a request to expedite adjudication of a Form I-601.



Note: The strong desire to immigrate to the United States as soon as possible is not considered by itself “extraordinary.”

The types of extraordinary situations that may be expedited are those in which there are time-sensitive and compelling circumstances that necessitate the applicant’s presence in the United States sooner than would be possible if the application were processed under normal processing times.


Those situations that may be raised include, but are not limited to, situations in which the applicant establishes one or more of the following:


  1. The applicant has urgent and critical medical needs that cannot be addressed in the applicant’s country;
  2.  An applicant’s family member in the United States has a life-threatening medical condition and has immediate needs related to that condition for the applicant to assist the family member in the United States;
  3.  The applicant is faced with urgent circumstances related to the death or terminal illness of a family member;
  4.  The applicant or qualifying family member is a particularly vulnerable individual due to age or disability;
  5. The applicant is at risk of serious harm due to personal circumstances distinct from the general safety conditions of those living in the applicant’s country;
  6. It would be in the national interest of the United States to have the applicant in the United States (for example, the applicant’s presence in the United States is urgently required for work with a U.S. government entity); or


Special Procedure for a member of the Armed Forces of the United States:

  1. The applicant’s qualifying family member is a member of the military who is deployed or will soon be deployed; and
  2. The applicant demonstrates that, in light of the deployment there are compelling reasons to expedite the request due to the impact of the applicant’s absence from the United States on the applicant, the qualifying family member, or their children, if any.



Requests must include sufficient evidence to support the claimed need for expedited processing or an explanation of why that evidence is not available.

For example, if the request is based on an urgent, life-threatening medical condition, the applicant should provide a medical report.

If the request is based on urgent need by a U.S. government entity to have the applicant in the United States, the applicant should provide a letter from the entity supporting the expedite request.

NOTE: The request must be completely documented otherwise, if denied,  it would most probably difficult to make a second request.



All requests to expedite will be reviewed within 5 business days of receipt of the request and, if the decision is to approve the request to expedite, the applicant will be notified within 10 business days of receipt of the request.

Note Presumption of Denial: Overseas field offices are not required to provide negative responses to requests to expedite. Overseas field offices will notify applicants that, if they do not receive a response to their request to expedite within 15 days from the date of notice of receipt of the request, their request to expedite may be presumed to be denied.