One of the milestones of the visa process is getting your I-601 waiver. With the approval on hand, you can travel outside the U.S. with the peace of mind that you will not be denied your immigrant visa due to illegal entry or unlawful presence. There are still more steps involved in the overall process of getting your green card. Wondering what happens after getting your I-601 waiver approved? You’ll learn more about it below.
You should receive a new packet that contains information about what to do next. If you still haven’t received a notification about whether your waiver has been approved, there is no need to panic. The decision takes a long time, particularly if you’re filing from outside the United States.
Filing Outside the U.S.
Filing your I-601 waiver while you are outside the United State can take around six to twelve months. This is longer than the processing time for waivers that are filed in the United States of four to six months that generally occur. Expect the time to vary by the overseas USCIS office that’s involved. Keep in mind that the processing time is always subject to change regardless of where it’s been filed.
What’s In Your New Packet
The question, “What happens after my I-601 waiver is approved” is answered with the arrival of your packet. The new packet that you receive upon approval of your I-601 waiver will include instructions on how to set up an appointment at the consulate. The scheduling is different from other interviews you have set up in the past as it’s scheduled online.
There may be additional documents required for submission during this interview. Most of these documents will be those which need updated documentation. The last interview could likely have been over a year ago. It is also likely to be asked for an updated DS-260 and I-864 Affidavit of Support. Additionally, you may be asked for a new medical exam and biometrics.
When to Contact the Embassy or Consulate
You should receive a packet of information from the country of origin’s United States Embassy. Expect this packet to arrive a few weeks after your approval. It will include information about the next steps that you must complete in the process. Contact your consulate and find out when it was sent and confirm the address.
Preparing for the Interview
With how much time has passed since your last interview, it’s ideal to check the expirations and dates of new information. Even though you will have a list in your packet about documents to bring, you should do this proactively to avoid the chance of a delay.
A change in your marital status, home address or other relevant information should have documentation collected for the interview. You will also need to bring your current passport. Be sure that your passport photo follows the requirements that are outlined on the Department of State’s website. Making a mistake could lead to your request being denied or delayed.
Proper Passport Return
During the interview, your consulate will keep your passport until your visa is approved. It will come in a sealed package called the “Immigrant Visa Packet” and will include your approved visa. You are not to open this package until entering the United States. Entry must occur within four months of receipt of the packet.
When you finally enter the United States, the packet will be opened with the presence of an immigration officer. They will stamp your passport, making it valid for one year. Your passport will become your green card on a temporary basis.
The actual, permanent green card will be issued to you within a year once you have entered the United States. A social security number will be assigned to this new green card. Your new social security card should arrive around three weeks from the time you entered the United States.
What’s important to remember is that through this whole process of waiting and receiving approval for your waiver, there is no guarantee you will receive your visa. Keep in mind that a waiver does not do the following:
- Allow you to apply for work authorization
- Grant you legal immigration status
- Prevent your removal from the United States
Keep yourself focused and continue to move through this immigration process step by step. It is long and challenging, but getting over the hurdle of receiving your waiver is worth celebrating.
Have a Strong Team Behind You with Pride
Getting this far in the process means you’ve spent a lot of your resources and time. You are approaching the most critical point near the finish line of your goal. Making sure that all the details are there and accurate is more important than ever. Our experienced team at Pride Immigration can walk you through the process and ensure that it’s handled correctly.
When working with Pride Immigration, you won’t need to worry about what happens after your I-601 waiver is approved. We’ll work with you each step of the way. Contact us today and tell us about your situation so we can help you understand what happens next.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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