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What You Need to Know About Waivers of Inadmissibility

| Feb 20, 2019 | Firm News

Inadmissibility may apply to non-U.S. citizens who are seeking to enter or remain in the United States or who are applying for Adjustment of Status (Green Card). Being found inadmissible can be a serious obstacle to your immigration case and may trigger the start of removal proceedings against you. Grounds of inadmissibility – or the reasons why an immigrant may be legally barred from entering or remaining on the U.S. – commonly include:

  • Health-related reasons (such as having a communicable disease or being a drug addict)
  • Criminal reasons (such as multiple convictions or convictions for certain serious crimes)
  • National security reasons
  • Likelihood of becoming a public charge (that is, a person who is primarily dependent on the government)
  • Fraud or misrepresentation (relating to documents such as passports or visas)
  • Prior removals or unlawful presence

However, being found inadmissible on some of the grounds mentioned above doesn’t necessarily equal deportation or mean that you will not be able to obtain your green card. Some immigrants will be able to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. In this article, we explain what these waivers are and in what situations they can prove useful.

Waivers of Inadmissibility Explained

A waiver is an official document that, in a sense, “forgives,” excuses, or nullifies one or more inadmissibility grounds that you may be subject to. Obtaining such a waiver will allow you to continue with your Green Card or visa application process. However, whether you will be given the waiver or not depends solely on the decision of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Immigration Judge if you are in Deportation proceedings.

There are different kinds of waivers depending on both the inadmissibility ground you’re seeking to waive as well as the type of immigration benefit you’re applying for. Below, you will find a short description of the most popular waiver applications:

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A)

Unlawful presence refers to individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection, that is, without presenting themselves at border control, or to those who entered with a valid Nonimmigrant Visa and either overstayed it or violated the terms of the visa. There are a number of requirements individuals must meet in order to be eligible for an unlawful presence waiver, for example:

  • An applicant must be physically present in the U.S.
  • An applicant must not be inadmissible for any other reason
  • An applicant must have an approved Immigrant Visa Petition as an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

If you think you may apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, it is best to consult an immigration attorney so that he or she can review your case and check if you comply with all the requirements. It is important to remember that if you are granted the waiver, you will have to leave the U.S. and attend an immigrant visa interview in a consulate abroad.

General Waiver of Inadmissibility (I-601)

A waiver in relation to any other inadmissibility grounds apart from unlawful presence can be sought by the means of a General Waiver. Some of the most common reasons for which you may seek a general waiver are:

  • Fraud and misrepresentation: In order to obtain a waiver in relation to fraud or misrepresentation, you must prove first that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted in your case. This means that there must be some very good reasons for USCIS to show you special consideration and pardon your initial fraud or misrepresentation of your immigration case. Additionally, you must also prove that one of your Qualifying Relatives (such as U.S. Citizen Spouse or Parent, Permanent Resident Spouse or Parent, U.S. Citizen children) will experience Extreme Hardship
  • Certain Criminal Offenses: Importantly, a waiver will not be granted if the applicant is guilty of very serious crimes such as murder, torture, or conspiracy. However certain other criminal offenses can be waived if the applicant can prove that his or her Qualifying Relative(s) will suffer extreme hardship. If the offense in question was committed more than 15 years prior to applying for the waiver extreme hardship to the Qualifying Relative(s) does not need to be proven.

Seeking a Waiver of Inadmissibility? Contact Rotella & Hernandez

If you are seeking to obtain an immigration benefit – such as a visa or a Green Card – you need someone you can trust at your side to help you overcome any obstacles you may face. Seeking a waiver can be a very complex process, let our experienced staff help by providing you with the best chance of getting approved. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.