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A closer look at waivers of inadmissibility

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Immigration

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency determines whether foreign nationals should be considered admissible or inadmissible to the United States, and its rules can be very strict. However, the law also gives the USCISrecognizes that there are situations in which a person should be allowed to stay in the United States even if they have been determined otherwise inadmissible. For these situations, the USCIS allows for waivers.

When you are applying for a waiver of inadmissibility, you are asking the government to use its discretion to overlook the reason it determined that you were admissible, and to allow you to have a visa, Green Card or other benefit.

For instance, in some cases, a person might request a waiver on the basis that the USCIS was wrong when it determined they were inadmissible. In other cases, a person might choose not to argue with the determination of inadmissibility, but ask for a waiver on another basis.

Reasons for inadmissibility

Whether the USCIS will agree to grant you a waiver depends on a number of factors. Perhaps the most important involves the reason you were originally deemed inadmissible.

There are three grounds for inadmissibility which may, in some circumstances, be waived. These are:

  • Unlawful presence: The person was found to be in the United States illegally at any time in the past. In some cases, the USCIS will grant a waiver for such a person.
  • Misrepresentation: In certain cases, the USCIS will grant a waiver for someone who had been found inadmissible due to their misrepresentation of facts during the immigration process.
  • Certain criminal history: Ordinarily, a person can be found inadmissible because of their criminal background. However, the USCIS can grant a waiver in some cases, depending on factors such as what type of crime was allegedly involved, how long ago the alleged criminal activity took place.

More about criminal history

Getting a waiver can be especially difficult for those with a criminal history, but it can be done. First, the alleged criminal history must date from at least 15 years earlier. Another possibility arises when the applicant can show that they have a family member already legally in the United States who will suffer an extreme hardship if the applicant is not granted the waiver.

Immigration law can be very complex, and it can be very difficult to make your way through the immigration bureaucracy. It’s a good idea to consult with a professional who has experience with the system.