Waivers of Inadmissibility
United States immigration law prohibits individuals under certain circumstances from entering the United States as a nonimmigrant or immigrant. However, the law also provides that these “inadmissible” individuals may be granted a visa if specific requirements related to their ground of inadmissibility are met. For many of these grounds of inadmissibility, an individual has the opportunity to request a waiver when his or her visa application is denied.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) enumerates the various grounds under which an individual can be found inadmissible. Moreover, some of these bases of inadmissibility authorize a specific type of waiver, or may require a general waiver. The following are some of the more common basis of visa denials under the INA that may require the submission of a waiver application.
- Health Related Grounds
- Criminal Grounds
- Illegal Entry and Immigration Violations (including misrepresentation)
Other than certain security related grounds of inadmissibility, a general waiver for nonimmigrant visas may be granted on a discretionary basis. There are several factors that may be considered in determining whether this type of waiver can be approved:
- The risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted;
- The seriousness of the applicant’s immigration law violation; and
- The nature of the applicant’s reasons for wishing to enter the United States.
Waivers for immigrant visas are much more restrictive. They are available for only certain grounds of inadmissibility and generally require that the applicant have a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent who will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant were not permitted to enter the United States. Inadmissibility waivers for immigrant visas are generally submitted in an I-601 waiver application filing. For certain grounds of inadmissibility, there are specific eligibility standards.