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Visa Waivers


Waiver Availability

1. Waiver is Available

If an applicant is inadmissible, the officer must determine whether USCIS may waive the ground of inadmissibility and whether the applicant meets all eligibility requirements of the waiver. If the applicant is inadmissible on grounds that can be waived, the officer should determine whether the applicant meets the requirements for the waiver.

2. Waiver and Consent to Reapply

An applicant who files a waiver application may also be inadmissible because of a prior removal or unlawful reentry after a previous immigration violation. In these cases, the applicant is required to file an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal (Form I-212), which is also called consent to reapply.

If the officer determines that the waiver is approvable, the officer should give the applicant an opportunity to file a consent to reapply application, if required. The officer should consult the consent to reapply form instructions to determine when USCIS may accept the waiver application and consent to reapply application together.

If the waiver is not approvable and the applicant did not request consent to reapply (although required), the officer should deny the waiver and not request the application for consent to reapply. If an applicant files a consent to reapply application and the officer denies the waiver application, then the officer should deny the consent to reapply application as a matter of discretion.

3. No Waiver is Available

An applicant may be inadmissible for both a ground that USCIS may waive and a ground for which no waiver or other form of relief is available. In this instance, the applicant is still inadmissible on grounds that cannot be waived and approving the waiver application serves no purpose. The officer, therefore, should deny the application as a matter of discretion because the applicant is inadmissible on grounds that cannot be waived. The officer should provide the standard language regarding the availability of motions to reopen, motions to reconsider, and appeals (if applicable) in the denial notice.


There is no specific type or amount of evidence necessary to establish eligibility for a waiver. Typically, the evidence should support all eligibility requirements, be specific, and come from a credible source. It should also substantiate the applicant’s claims. If evidence is unavailable, the applicant should provide a reasonable explanation for its absence.

1. Medical and Other Issues Requiring Specialized Knowledge

Professionals should address issues that require specialized knowledge. Physicians and other medical professionals, for example, should provide medical statements. The professional’s attestation should explain how the condition or issue affects that applicant. An officer may still consider a nonprofessional’s statement, but the officer should give less weight to a nonprofessional’s opinion. An officer may consider medical evidence from the internet and published sources, but these sources generally cannot replace a physician’s statement.

2. Family Relationships

Some waivers require that the applicant establish a qualifying familial relationship. Unless the adjudicating officer finds the underlying evidence unpersuasive, the evidence submitted as part of a previously approved petition or application based on that familial relationship is sufficient to establish the qualifying relationship for the waiver. If there is no evidence in the record establishing the qualifying relationship, then the officer must request evidence that establishes the qualifying relationship, such as marriage, birth, or adoption certificates, or other evidence as permitted by law.


Matter of Mendez-Moralez (PDF), 21 I&N Dec. 296 (BIA 1996)
Matter of J-F-D- (PDF), 10 I&N Dec. 694 (Reg. Comm. 1963).
Matter of Martinez-Torres (PDF), 10 I&N Dec. 776 (Reg. Comm. 1964).


See 8 CFR 103.2. See 8 CFR 103.7. General filing requirements include proper signature; proper fee or fee waiver; translation of any foreign language evidence; proper filing location; and the initial evidence specified in the relevant regulations and instructions with the application. Forms and form instructions are available on USCIS’ website at

See 8 CFR 103.2. Typically, a waiver does not require the applicant to submit biometrics. USCIS usually collects this information as part of the underlying benefit application, such as an adjustment of status application. However, if the required biometrics are outdated, then the officer must update the biometrics prior to the adjudication of a waiver.

See Chapter 4, Waiver Eligibility and Evidence [9 USCIS-PM A.4].

See 8 CFR 103.2(b).

I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

Forms and Document Downloads

Form I-601 (PDF, 638.35 KB)
Instructions for Form I-601 (PDF, 431.72 KB)

Where to File I-601 Waiver

The filing location depends on the immigration benefit you are seeking. To view a complete list of addresses, go to our Direct Filing Addresses page.

Filing Fee

$930 (as of February 2024)

Checklist of Required Initial Evidence

(From USCIS, for informational purposes only)

Please do not submit this checklist with your Form I-601. It is an optional tool to use as you prepare your form, but does not replace statutory, regulatory, and form instruction requirements. We recommend that you review these requirements before completing and submitting your forms. Do not send original documents unless specifically requested in the form instructions or applicable regulations.

If you submit any documents (copies or original documents, if requested) in a foreign language, you must include a full English translation along with a certification from the translator verifying that the translation is complete and accurate, and that they are competent to translate from the foreign language to English.

Did you provide the following?

  • Evidence that establishes why you may qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility, which depends on the ground(s) of inadmissibility that apply to you and should include evidence to show why we should grant you a waiver of inadmissibility as a matter of discretion. 
  • Evidence to support your claim of extreme hardship (if applicable).
    • If applying for a waiver that requires you to a showing of extreme hardship to a spouse, parent, son, or daughter of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must submit evidence establishing the family relationship and evidence that shows the denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to your qualifying relative.
    • If you are a VAWA self-petitioner seeking a waiver for immigration fraud or misrepresentation, you may show how the denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to your qualifying relatives or yourself. 
  • Evidence to support a waiver for inadmissibility due to a communicable disease of public health significance (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support your request for a vaccination exemption (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver of inadmissibility due to physical or mental disorder and associated harmful behavior (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver of criminal grounds of inadmissibility found in INA section 212(a)(2) (if applicable)
  • Evidence to support waiver for immigration fraud or misrepresentation (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver for inadmissibility because of your membership in a totalitarian party (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver for inadmissibility due to alien smuggling (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver of inadmissibility due to being the subject of a civil penalty under INA section 212(a)(6)(F) (if applicable).
  • Evidence to support a waiver of the 3-or 10-year unlawful presence bar under INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(v) (if applicable).
  • If you are a TPS applicant, evidence that a waiver is warranted. 
  • Evidence that you warrant a waiver of inadmissibility based on factors that would be considered if you were seeking consent to reapply if you are seeking adjustment of status under NACARA section 202 or HRIFA section 902, and inadmissible under INA section 212(a)(9)(A) or (C). 
  • Evidence that shows connection between the battery or extreme cruelty that is the basis for the VAWA claim and the self-petitioner’s removal, departure from the United States, reentry or re-entries into the United States, or attempted reentry into the United States if you are an approved VAWA self-petitioner or child of an approved VAWA self-petitioner and inadmissible under INA section 212(a)(9)(C)(i).   
  • Evidence to support waiver if you are an applicant for adjustment of status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (if applicable).

Fee Waiver: USCIS will accept a fee waiver for the following types of cases:

  • A VAWA self-petitioner;
  • An applicant for a T visa;
  • A battered spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen;
  • An applicant for Temporary Protected Status;
  • A Special Immigrant Juvenile; or
  • Any other noncitizen for whom  a determination of their likelihood of becoming a public charge under section 212(a)(4) is not required at the time of their application for admission or adjustment of status.

Please see the USCIS Fee Waiver page for more information.