On June 4, 2012, USCIS officially began to accept I-601 applications for applicants who previously had to file the I-601 abroad. The I-601 can now be submitted to a “lockbox” and the addresses are all posted on the USCIS website. An I-601 application refers to the waiver process required for those who have triggered an issue of admission and must show extreme hardship to a qualifying relative – a US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent.
The process has been centralized due to varied delays across all USCIS offices abroad that were solely responsible for I-601 waiver adjudications for all applicants processing their immigration visa at a US Embassy. Adjudication standards also varied.
Centralization in the United States has several advantages:
1. Consistency of adjudication standards, with one office managing the applications versus multiple offices
2. Timing – USCIS stated in a stakeholder meeting on May 23, 2012 that they anticipated adjudications to be completed in 3 months. This would be a significant improvement for some individuals who are processing their immigrant visas in Mexico or South America, where the processing times can easily be up to 1 year.
3. Transparency – USCIS will issue receipt notices with a receipt number so you can track the application through the agency’s Case Status system. Processing times will also be published each month. You will also be able to communicate with the agency via the National Customer Service Center, updating them with address changes, attorney changes, etc.
Please note that only in Juarez Mexico will I-601 applications continue to be accepted for another 6 months. In the rest of the world, the I-601 applications will only be accepted for another 30 days and then ongoing, all I-601 applications MUST be submitted to the US Lockbox for adjudication.
For advice on whether to file your waiver with the Lockbox, you should seek the advice of a Colorado immigration lawyer. Call 303-322-2117 to schedule an appointment.