The applicant must be:
Over the age of 17 years old
Currently be present in the US
Cannot be in deportation proceedings
If s/he has a prior deportation case, it must be closed
Must be the spouse of child of a U.S. citizen
Here, form I-130 must be filed and the case pending. The immigrant visa processing fee must have already been paid.
The I-130 must be approved in order for the applicant to file the I-601A waiver.
Be inadmissible due to ONLY unlawful presence
Show and prove extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen relative (ie. that U.S. citizen would suffer an extreme hardship if s/he had to leave the U.S. and live in the applicant’s home country)
File the waiver application BEFORE s/he departs the U.S. for his/her visa interview abroad
If the waiver application is approved, the applicant can then PERMISSIBLY leave the U.S. to go the U.S. consulate in the applicant’s home country AND return back to the U.S.
Pay an additional $670 in fees
U.S. citizen files an immigrant visa petition (I-130) on behalf of his/her spouse or child.
U.S. government approves the I-130 (This can take four to five months).
The case is then sent to the National Visa Center.
The NVC is a buffer between the USCIS and the U.S. embassy in the applicant’s home country.
The National Visa Center will ask for birth certificates and other documents.
Once the Center receives all the documents requested, the case is forwarded to the U.S.
The immigrant THEN files the I-601A waiver application. The application must show extreme hardship to the petitioning U.S. citizen.
This is not just an ordinary emotional hardship of separation. The application must show evidence such as the U.S. Citizen petitioner has medical issues that require him/her to remain in the U.S., or s/he works in a particular field in which s/he can only be employed in the U.S.
Evidence such as affidavits, reports from a psychologist showing the severity of the separation, letters from co-workers should all be collected.
The waiver is approved.
At this point, the consular interview abroad in the immigrant’s home country is scheduled.
The applicant may then PERMISSIBLE leave the U.S. to attend the consular interview.
The visa request is processed and the applicant then returns to the U.S. with his/her permanent resident packet. This process may take from three days to three weeks.
Once the applicant becomes a permanent resident, s/he will be eligible to work, obtain a driver’s license, as well as a social security number.
$420 for immigrant visa petition
$165 for immigrant processing fee
up to $300 in additional consular fees and medical exam fees
$670 for provisional waiver fee
up to $50 in additional fees for translations, photos, copies, etc. if necessary
TOTAL: plan on spending $1600 in filing fees
If you hire an attorney, those fees will be separate.
you should also budget for visits to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to establish hardship
you will have to travel to your home country and stay there for at least a few days, but you should budget for several weeks just in case your application is delayed