Immigration Waivers & Grounds of Inadmissibility


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Understanding Waivers and Grounds of Inadmissibility for Immigrants

If you are planning to migrate to the United States, it’s important to be well-prepared and informed about the potential challenges that could lead to unfavorable outcomes. Being found “inadmissible to the United States” by U.S. authorities may be the worst of them. 

People can be found inadmissible for many reasons, including criminal grounds, physical or mental disorders associated with harmful behavior, national security concerns, public charges, immigration fraud, or unlawful presence. This means they cannot enter or remain in the U.S.

If you are deemed inadmissible, you may be eligible for an inadmissibility waiver, namely Form I-601 for applicants outside the U.S. and Form I-601A for those already in the U.S.

Determining eligibility and applying for a waiver is a complex and time-consuming process. Understanding U.S. immigration laws can also be difficult for untrained eyes. Consider seeking guidance from professionals who are well-versed in these matters to ensure the most favorable outcomes.

Our team at The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. is here to guide you on inadmissibility grounds and waivers. We can support you in pursuing your dream of becoming a lawful permanent resident or a citizen of the United States.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

Foreigners can be denied admission into the U.S. or removed from the country based on several grounds of inadmissibility under § 212(a) and grounds of deportation under INA § 237(a).

While some areas overlap, the primary distinction between these provisions lies in when they apply. Grounds of inadmissibility are relevant to individuals seeking entry to the U.S. However, both grounds of deportation and inadmissibility can apply to those who have already been admitted, and both can lead to removal.

Grounds of inadmissibility include:

  1. Health-related grounds: Foreign nationals may be denied entry if they have communicable diseases of public health significance. This category includes vaccination requirements and considerations for physical or mental disorders, drug abuse, and addiction.
  2. Criminal grounds: Individuals may be deemed inadmissible if they have committed crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) or offenses related to controlled substances. There are exceptions available for juveniles and minor offenses.
  3. Economic grounds: Inadmissibility may apply if a foreign national is considered a “public charge” and reliant on government assistance.
  4. Security Concerns: Those involved in terrorism, espionage, or other activities deemed a threat to national security can be found inadmissible.
  5. Unlawful Presence: Accumulating significant periods of unlawful presence in the U.S. may render someone inadmissible.
  6. Miscellaneous grounds: Inadmissibility can also result from diverse practices such as:

  1. Polygamy
  2. Human trafficking
  3. Unlawful voting

What Is an Immigration Waiver?

An immigration waiver, also known as an inadmissibility waiver, is a request to the U.S. government to forgive or ignore the reason that makes you ineligible for lawful permanent residence or other immigration benefits. The reason that makes you ineligible is called a ground of inadmissibility.

The law that lists the grounds of inadmissibility and the waivers available for them is Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Types of Immigration Waivers

There are different types of immigration waivers. They include:

1. I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

This waiver is used by individuals who are deemed inadmissible to the United States for certain reasons but are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, or certain nonimmigrant benefits. It can overcome inadmissibility due to unlawful presence, criminal records, or visa fraud.

To qualify for this waiver, you need to provide supporting evidence that a qualifying relative, such as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, would suffer extreme hardship if you are denied your entry or immigration.

2. I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

This form is specifically designed for individuals who are in the United States but are subject to the three- or ten-year bar if they depart the country to attend an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If granted, it can significantly reduce the time they are separated from their family in the United States.

To be eligible for unlawful presence waivers, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having a qualifying U.S. citizen spouse or parent and demonstrating that the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to that U.S. citizen relative.

What to Do if My Waiver Application Is Denied?

A vital component of the waiver application is demonstrating that your removal causes “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative. This element must be thoroughly documented to strengthen your case and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Failing to do so often leads to a waiver application denial. Other common denial reasons include an incomplete application and failure to submit the required documents.

In the event of a denial from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), here’s what you can do:

Appeal your I-601 Application Denial

You can appeal the USCIS denial decision within 30 days to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). To do so, you must file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. The appeal details and instructions can be found on the denial notice.

Submit a New I-601A Application for a Provisional Waiver

Unlike an I-601 application, an I-601A provisional waiver application cannot be appealed. However, you can always reapply, especially if your circumstances change, as when your U.S. citizen spouse loses their job and requires your financial support.

Correct Previous Issues

If the denial was due to missing or incomplete documentation, you can address these deficiencies and reapply. Ensure that you include all necessary supporting documents and address the reasons for the initial denial.

Explore Other Immigration Relief Options

Depending on your case, there may be other relief options that you can seek following a waiver application denial. These include temporary Protected Status (TPS) and removal cancellation. You can also investigate other forms of humanitarian relief, such as the U visa for crime victims or the T visa for trafficking victims if you qualify.

Consult an Immigration Attorney

 If your application was denied, it’s highly advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. They can help you understand the reasons for the denial, advise you on the best course of action, and guide you through the appeals or reapplication process.

The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. Can Help You

Inadmissibility is a complex area of immigration law. You need professional help to determine your eligibility, decide which waiver is appropriate for you, and apply.

At The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. we can help you with your waiver application and other inadmissibility challenges. We have experience with various immigration waivers, including waiver petitions I-751. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.


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