I601A Waiver and DUI Conviction

DUI and I601A WaiverCan I apply for an I601A waiver if I have a DUI or DWI?

Possibly, but you should check with an immigration lawyer about your case before you apply.

The I601A waiver offers an excellent opportunity for many people to obtain green cards without having a long family separation. But not everyone is eligible for an I601A waiver, even if they are married to a United States citizen. I601A waivers are only available if you are not inadmissible for any reason other than unlawful presence. This means that if there are any other issues with your case outside of unlawful presence, then an I601A waiver may not be an option.

Although most DUI convictions (called DWI convictions in some states) are not crimes that automatically make you inadmissible, there are exceptions and some DUI convictions could make you inadmissible based on having a criminal conviction. You should have an immigration lawyer review your court records to make sure that you won’t have a problem.

In addition, a DUI conviction or any alcohol related incident can create other problems for your immigrant visa case. This can be true even if you were just arrested and not actually convicted. In particular, the government may try to argue that you are medically inadmissible to the United States due to an alcohol related medical condition. Having multiple alcohol related incidents or having recent alcohol related incidents increases this risk.

The I601A waiver is new. It is not clear at this point how USCIS will handle I601A waiver applications where there is a DWI conviction. Your best course of action is to work with an immigration lawyer on your case to make sure that you have the most recent information on this issue before you submit your application.

I601A Waiver and DUI Risks

USCIS has indicated that denied I601A applications would not automatically result in a Notice to Appear (NTA) that would start deportation proceedings. However, they have left open the possibility that they could issue NTAs depending on the reason the waiver application is denied. Will a DUI result in an NTA? We simply won’t know until we start to see decisions on I-601A waiver applications.

What should I do if I have a DUI and want to apply for an I601A waiver?

You really need to work with an immigration lawyer if you have a DUI conviction and want to apply for an I601A waiver. An immigration lawyer will be able to review your court records to confirm whether your DUI could raise any issues related to being inadmissible on criminal grounds. Your lawyer will also be able to get up-to-date information on how USCIS is handling I-601A waiver applications with DUI convictions. This information will help you make the most informed decision possible about your case and the risks involved with filing your application.

You should also keep an eye on the USCIS website for information on I601A waivers and DUIs.


About Kimberley Schaefer

Kimberley Schaefer is an immigration lawyer with offices in Boise, ID and Rexburg, Idaho. She helps future Americans become citizens by assisting them with immigrant visas, fiance visas, adjustment of status and green card applications, applying for immigration waivers, fighting deportation and applying for asylum. To contact her, you can call (208) 918-0852 or send Kimberley an email now.

Comment Policy: Do you have a comment about this article? Your comments will be visible to everyone and are appropriate for general questions about immigration issues. Have a specific question about your case that you'd like to ask privately as part of a consultation? Please use the contact form instead.

Leave a Comment About This Article