When those wishing to immigrate to the US apply for visas, in some instances consular officials find applicants inadmissible into the US, which leads to the rejection of the visa application. When this happens, the applicants can usually apply to have the grounds of inadmissibility waived so that they can get a visa. Traditionally, applicants have had to apply for a waiver at their location outside the US. Since June 4, 2012, however, applicants have been able to apply for a waiver directly through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) via mail.
This means that if a consular official finds an applicant inadmissible into the US, that applicant can apply via mail for a waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility. The application is processed through the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) after being sent to a USCIS US Lockbox. Only applicants who have applied for an immigrant visa or a K or V visa outside the US and have been found inadmissible are affected by this change. Applicants in this situation who are filing Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility), Form I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal), and Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion) are affected by the change.
Applicants who are in Mexico and have been found inadmissible will continue to have the option of filing at a US Lockbox or at the USCIS Field Office in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico when filing for a waiver – at least until December 4, 2012. After this date, applicants from Mexico will file their waivers through the mail at a US Lockbox facility. Applicants who decide to file through the mail at a US Lockbox facility, however, will generally enjoy shorter processing times, faster filing, and the convenience of being able to track their application. That is, applicants who decide to apply for a waiver via a Lockbox will be able to apply for a waiver right after their consular interview, without having to wait for a USCIS interview and without having to travel to a USCIS office. In addition, the goal for waiver applications submitted to a Lockbox is a 3 month processing time. Applicants who apply for a waiver through a Lockbox can also check the status of their application online as often as they like. Those who apply through an international office do not have the option of tracking the status of their application.