AMIGA is honored to feature tips from Laurel Scott about the organization and presentation of an I-601A Waiver. Those of us who know her work commonly refer to her as "The Waiver Queen." - Ally Kennedy, AMIGA
Waiver Presentation Tips by Laurel Scott:
1. PRESENT THE CASE IN AN ORGANIZED MANNER
The waiver application packet should include three parts: Include a cover letter, brief, and qualifying relative letter with additional proofs. Some attorneys combine all three into one document while others combine the cover letter and brief. It is a matter of personal choice. But whatever you do, do not send a disorganized pile of documents.
2. THE COVER LETTER
My cover letter is one page and it simply says what I'm submitting, who the applicant is, and what form and filing fee I'm including.
3. THE BRIEF
I start with a two-page summary of the case. My goal is for the adjudicator to be able to understand the entire case in five minutes or less. Prepare your case like journalists prepare newspaper articles: presume the reader will pay less and less attention as you go on. You have the most attention at the very start of the brief. Remember that understanding the case is not limited to understanding the hardships.
In my two-page summary, I go over the following:
- applicant's name,
- country/countries of citizenship,
- grounds of inadmissibility,
- citation under which the waiver can be found,
- age at the time of filing,
- date of consular interview,
- qualifying relative's name and age,
- children of the relationship and their ages and citizenship,
- type of visa sought,
- facts leading to the ground of inadmissibility,
- marital history for both petitioner and beneficiary,
- immigration history for both petitioner and beneficiary,
- criminal history,
- other significant factors or lack thereof,
- Then finally, summary of the hardships.
4. THE STANDARD LEGAL SECTION
After my two-page summary, I have a two-page legal section that is mostly there to impress the client. Adjudicators tell me they skip that part and I tell them that's fine. After my standard legal section, I may have an additional legal section if there is an unusual legal issue in the case, but usually there isn't.
I then give a longer summary of the life snapshot for the husband and wife: where do they live, what do they do for a living, who lives with them (e.g. parents, kids), what exactly the hardships are in more detail than in the summary. This is where I paint a picture of the hardships. It is about 1-2 pages.
Next I have a page where I give a bulleted list of exactly what the hardship arguments are, separating them into "arguments for why the QR can't move abroad" and "arguments for why the QR cannot remain the US without the applicant". After that, I talk about each piece of evidence individually, explaining what the piece of evidence is all about and what it proves. That's about 3-6 pages.
5. END WITH AN ORGANIZED EVIDENCE PACKET :
I start off with a letter from the Qualifying Relative. Then I include the remaining evidence in the order of the strongest and best proofs and it is numbered accordingly. Every document included should be thought out and not superfluous (for example, general country condition reports).
Laurel Scott is an immigration attorney based in Philadelphia, PA. For more information about Laurel and her work, log on to http://www.scottimmigration.net/.