What is a Waiver?

A person who is not eligible to be admitted into the U.S. on certain grounds, may still be able to apply for a waiver that could help them obtain an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain non immigrant statuses or certain other immigration benefits if they meet certain criteria.

The most common grounds that render someone inadmissible include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Unlawful Presence which includes (among other offenses) being in the United States illegally, falsely claiming U.S. citizenship, entering the country as a stowaway, smuggling and abuse of a student visa.
  • Criminal Activity which include crimes of moral turpitude (conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals), multiple criminal convictions resulting in five or more years’ incarceration, drug trafficking, prostitution, sex trafficking and money laundering.
  • Health-related Concerns this may include diagnoses of communicable diseases, failure to get required immunizations, dangerous physical or mental disorders and drug addictions.
  • Misrepresentation or Fraud this may include falsifying/misrepresenting key information to get a visa, committing fraud while making a visa application or on entry without a visa.

Types of Waivers

If the person meets certain criteria, there are three types of waivers available to them:

  • I-601 Waiver – Otherwise known as a hardship waiver where the prospective immigrant is outside the country. The applicant must show that:
    • Refusal of admission would cause a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen parent or spouse to suffer extreme hardship
  • I-601A Waiver – Also known as a hardship waiver where the applicant must:
    • Be in the United States
    • Be at least 17 years old
    • Have an immigrant visa application case in progress
  • I-212 Waiver – otherwise known as the waiver for previous removal, attempting to re-enter after removal period or a period of unlawful presence. If you have already been deported from the U.S. you may be eligible to apply based on this waiver if you can prove:
    • That you have close family ties in the U.S.
    • That unusual hardship may occur to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent or spouse, yourself, or your employer if you are not permitted to reapply
    • That you are rehabilitated (if criminal activity led to your deportation)
    • The length of your previous presence in the U.S. and your status during that time
    • Whether or not you demonstrated respect for laws and are of good moral character

It is important to keep in mind that each individual case is unique and the particular circumstances of your case will dictate which type of immigration waiver best applies to you and how to approach them in a manner that will give you the best chances for approval. Please reach out to our office for more details on whether you or someone you know qualifies for a waiver.