If you are inadmissible to the United States, applying for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility can act as a protection to overcome such an impediment. Although inadmissibility prevents you from entering the country or obtaining a Green Card, it is not necessarily the end of your American dream.
But what is a waiver of inadmissibility? An immigration waiver is a pardon granted by the government to foreigners who have violated the country’s laws. However, you must be eligible to apply. That said, if you are wondering, How can I apply for an immigration waiver? In this blog you will find the answer to this and many other questions.
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Everything You Need To Know About How To Apply For A Waiver Of Inadmissibility To The United States In 2024
Generally, when you apply for a visa, immigration authorities check to see if you have a criminal record in the country. If you have criminal offenses, you will be considered inadmissible. This bars you from obtaining any type of American visa or Green Card.
In these circumstances, you may be eligible for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility. But if you are not, you will not be able to obtain any visa, even if you meet all the requirements for it.
If you have any impediment to admission due to your judicial record, we advise you to contact us. Our immigration lawyers in New Jersey will provide you with the legal assistance you need. Now, below, we will explain which applications you should use when requesting a waiver.
Applications Necessary To Request Immigration Waivers In The United States
Depending on your case, you may need to complete one or another application form for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility. However, among the most used are:
You may use Form I-601, Request for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility to request a waiver. Typically, this form is used if it is determined that you are not suitable for:
- Entering the United States as an immigrant, or
- Making and adjustment of status .
On other scenarios, it is also used for certain visa categories. But, whatever your scenario, we recommend that you carefully review the instructions in this application. You can also contact us and we will help you with these procedures.
You can use Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver if:
- You have immediate family members who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents, and
- You entered the United States illegally or entered the country with an American visa and overstayed.
If you want to apply for a Green Card, you will need to leave the country and apply at a U. S. embassy or consulate. Additionally, to avoid the 3 or 10 years bar, you must apply for a waiver of inadmissibility before re-entering the country.
This waiver also applies to those who wish to marry an individual who is not a lawful permanent resident or American citizen. For more information, check our blog: “Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the U S.”
How Is an Immigration Waiver of inadmissibility Obtained?
At this point, you are probably wondering “How to apply for an immigration waiver to the United States?” Well, in order for you to obtain an immigration waiver, you will first need to know what type of waiver to apply for: I-601, I-601A or I- 212. Once you complete the form according to your case, you will have to follow the next requirements.
Requirements To Apply for An Immigration Waiver Of Inadmissibility
- Complete the form and submit it to USCIS. It is recommended that you also fill out Form G-1145 to receive notifications of acceptance on your application.
- Obtain USCIS approval of your waiver on U. S. grounds.
- In the case of a form I-601A, leave the country after obtaining your waiver.
- You will need to schedule an interview with an officer in charge.
- If you left the country, it must be with an official at the U. S. embassy or consulate.
- Wait to get a notification to return to the U. S. again.
How To Complete Form I-601 And I-601A?
Forms I-601 and I-601A are usually the most used by immigrants. Therefore, to complete them successfully, check the following information carefully:
This form is done by completing these parts:
- Information about yourself.
- Details of your entry into the U. S.
- Biographical information.
- Reasons for inadmissibility.
- Information about your qualifying family members.
- Additional details about other family members and specific facts.
- Signature of the interpreter and third parties who complete the form.
- Additional information and statements.
- Supporting documentation.
Regarding the I-601A, you have the following information to fill out:
- Personal identification, including name, alien registration number (A-Number) and Social Security Number (if applicable).
- Physical and contact address, country of birth or nationality.
- Details of last entry to the U. S, specifying date, place and path of entry.
- History of previous entries into the U. S. with special consideration for possible permanent bans.
- Immigration or criminal history, with the obligation to answer honestly.
- Information about the petitioner and approval of the visa petition.
- Details of the qualifying family member, who would suffer “extreme hardship” if the exemption is denied.
- Signatures of both the applicant and their legal representative.
What Types Of Immigration Waivers Exist In The United States?
Although there are currently 10 types of immigration waivers, the 3 most common are I-601, I-601A and I-212. Each one has a different purpose, which are:
Known as “immigration waiver of inadmissibility.” It is usually used when a national foreigner wants to obtain a Green Card but has committed certain crimes. For example, immigration fraud or drug possession charges. This waiver also works when you:
- Are applying for an immigrant visa or K-1 fiancé visa and are outside the United States. Subsequently, in the consular interview your inadmissibility was determined.
- Are applying to adjust status to lawful permanent resident.
- Are an applicant for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
- Attempted to adjust your status under the NACARA program.
- Are an applicant for a visa or adjustment of status under the VAWA visa.
- Tried to adjust your status through the T visa.
- Wanted to obtain lawful permanent residence based on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ).
The I-601A waiver is used when the immigrant’s only crime is having entered or remained in the country illegally. Likewise, it is also used when the immigrant resides in the United States and is immersed in a consular process.
Likewise, each applicant must be in U. S. territory at the time of submitting form I-601A and attend a biometric appointment with USCIS.
It should be noted that the immigration agency may ask you to participate in an additional interview or provide:
- Photographs, or
This will all be to verify your identity, obtain additional information and conduct background checks. These checks may include a criminal background check conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In certain cases, immigration laws intersect with criminal laws. When this occurs, it is known as “Crimmigration.”
The I-212 waiver refers to authorization to re-enter the United States after being deported.
Therefore, if you were deported and wish to return to the U. S, you can file Form I-212 with USCIS.
Importantly, you should not attempt to enter the United States until your application has been approved.
Sometimes, aliens do not know if they have a deportation order against them. For this reason, we have prepared the blog: “How to find out if I have a deportation order” to keep you informed about these decisions.
I-212 Waiver Subcategories
The I-212 waiver has some subcategories depending on the crimes presented. Some of them are:
Section 212(D)(3): Waiver Of Inadmissibility For Nonimmigrants
This exemption allows the Attorney General to waive certain cases of inadmissibility for foreigners who wish to temporarily enter the country. A common example of use is when immigrants seek to apply for an H-1B visa or a B-1 visa.
It should be noted that not all crimes can be waived. Among them are:
- Drug trafficking, or
Section 212(I): Fraud And Misrepresentation
Through this waiver, aliens can obtain admission to the United States if they have committed fraud or misrepresentation. However, there are two conditions that must be met to be able to request it:
- Be the spouse or child of a U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and
- Prove that denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to the qualifying relative.
Section 212 (H): Inadmissibility For Criminal Acts
It can be used by the immigrant to obtain or maintain the Green Card, even if they have a criminal conviction, either for:
- Crimes of moral turpitude, such as theft,
- Convictions for 2 or more crimes if the total sentence was 5 years or more,
- Prostitution, and
- Drug possession.
Additionally, this section is divided into three categories according to the requirements that you must meet. These are:
- 212(H) – 15 years: You must show that the crimes occurred more than 15 years ago, that you have been rehabilitated and that, if admitted, you will not pose a threat.
- 212(H) for extreme hardship: If you are inadmissible for a crime, you must show that you have a relative who would face extreme hardship in your absence.
- 212(H) Battered Spouse Waiver: This is for ineligible applicants who suffer abuse from a spouse or lawful permanent resident.
Section 212(H) can be helpful when you are trying to apply for a U visa or T visa. But, whatever your case, it is extremely important that you seek legal advice from an immigration professional. Our attorneys, Carolina T. Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman, have extensive experience in handling these processes.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For A Waiver of inadmissibility To The United States In 2024?
The cost to apply for an immigration waiver depends on which waiver you are requesting. Among the three most common are:
- $930 for the I-601 waiver and can take 12 to 16 months.
- $715 for the I-601A waiver and usually takes between 6 to 12 months.
- $930 for the I-212 waiver whose waiting process is approximately 6 months.
Fees can generally be paid by personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. It is also possible to pay by credit card by completing Form G-1450. If you choose to pay by check, it must be made out to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.
How Long Does It Take To Get An Immigration Waiver?
Generally, the process of applying for a waiver of inadmissibility usually takes 6 to 24 months. Although, waiting periods that go beyond several years have been seen. Either way, once a decision has been made, you will receive a notification by mail.
What Is Unlawful Presence?
Unlawful presence is defined as the time an immigrant is in the United States without:
- Having been admitted,
- A temporary residence permit, or
- A “period of stay authorized by the Secretariat.”
Permanent Bar For Unlawful Presence
When aliens accumulate a year or more of unlawful presence in multiple entries, they face a permanent bar. Therefore, after being deported and attempting to return illegally, they must wait 10 years before applying for a pardon.
If the bar is permanent, you can ask for permission to return by applying for an exemption. But it must be after residing outside the country for at least 10 years since the last departure.
3 and 10 year bars
Inadmissibility to the United States is determined by the time spent illegally in the country and the circumstances of the deportation. The duration of the re-entry bar is calculated as follows:
- 3-year bar: For deportees with more than 180 days but less than a year of unlawful presence, without a normal deportation process.
- 10-year bar: When one year or more of unlawful presence is accumulated in a single stay and is subject to a deportation or voluntary departure process.
If you are subject to any of these bars, do not hesitate to call us. At Curbelo Law, we will help you evaluate your immigration options.
Do Not Commit These Offenses If You Want To Apply For Immigration Waiver of inadmissibility To The U. S.
If you applied for an immigration waiver, we advise you to avoid making the following mistakes::
1# Leaving The U. S. When You Shouldn’t
Do not leave the country for any reason while your application is being processed, as you could receive a 3 or 10 years bar. These punishments usually occur for two reasons:
- You have lived in the U.S. illegally for longer than permitted or for longer than 6 months.
- You left the U. S. after a period of unlawful presence. It should be noted that if you do not leave the country, the bar will not be activated.
2# Believing That The 3 and 10 Years Bar Is A Permanent bar
If you are deemed inadmissible, you may be sentenced to 3 to 10 years in which you will not be able to return to the U. S. However, this does not mean that you will never be able to return.
This punishment is not a permanent bar, you will be able to return to the country once you comply with said bar. Of course, if a permanent bar is presented, you will not be able to enter the country again.
3# Not Complying With The Process Requirements
One of the basic requirements to be eligible for a waiver for unlawful presence in the U. S. is to have a qualified relative. A family member of yours must be the one who will allow you to qualify for this procedure.
For you to qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility, you must have a relative who is your::
- Spouse, or
- Father or mother who has American citizenship or is a lawful permanent resident.
If you do not have a family member who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident, you will not be able to qualify for an immigration waiver.
Nor will you be able to qualify for a waiver through your children, only for those mentioned above.
On our website you can find more information about U. S, family-based immigration and thus learn everything required to be the holder of a Green Card via relative petitions.
4# Do Not Offer Evidence Of Extreme Hardship
Demonstrating extreme hardship can help you in situations where you are seeking a waiver. However, this evidence must be evidenced by a family member who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident and not the immigrant who is applying for a waiver of inadmissibility.
Children of American citizens and/or lawful permanent residents will also not be able to show evidence, but they can add additional arguments.
An example is that the spouse suffers from psychological or economic conditions, due to the responsibility of having to care for their children on their own.
5# Do Not Try To Apply For A Provisional Waiver
Undocumented individuals who have immediate family members who are U. S. citizens may qualify for an I-601A waiver within the U. S.
These applicants must wait for the waivers to be approved to complete the process and come to the country. Once this point is reached, the applicant will receive a Green Card to legally enter the US. This process is known as a provisional waiver.
- Immigration processes require that the applicant meet certain criteria. If you live outside the U. S. or do not have family members who are U. S. citizens, you will not be able to apply for a waiver.
- If you do not live in the U. S. or do not have relatives with U. S. citizenship, you will be able to apply for an I-601 waiver.
Reasons Why An Alien May Become Inadmissible To The United States
There are several reasons why you may become inadmissible. Among the most common reasons are:
- F-1 student visa violations.
- Affiliation with far-right parties.
- Threaten national security.
- Committing terrorist acts on U. S. soil or belonging to a terrorist group.
- Espionage or plan internal espionage.
- Being related to or carrying out human trafficking and smuggling.
- Engage in drug trafficking or addiction.
- International kidnapping of minors.
- Usurp American citizenship.
- Immigration violations.
- Crimes involving depravity.
- Being convicted by another country of a crime that warrants imprisonment within a range of 15 years.
- Being convicted by any court of law.
- Refused the vaccines required to enter the country.
- Has mental disorders or harmful behavior.
- It has communicable diseases for public health, such as:
These are just some reasons that lead to the inadmissibility of foreigners. Therefore, there are other cases where it is not possible to request an immigration waiver from the United States. Consult with our team to examine your scenario and find out whether or not you can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.
Can I Enter The United States If I Am Inadmissible?
You may be able to receive a waiver of inadmissibility to enter the U. S. through Form I-192. However, you must qualify for one of the following categories:
- You are a T visa or U visa applicant, or
- An inadmissible immigrant who already has the appropriate documents.
Please do not submit this application if:
- You seek admission under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or
- You are an inadmissible T visa applicant due to public charge.
Aliens inadmissible under VWP must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Is It Difficult To Obtain A Waiver To Enter The U. S?
Obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility can be challenging, but with the guidance of an immigration attorney, your chances of success increase. Therefore, by following instructions and providing evidence, the likelihood of approval is increased.
Consult with our experienced attorneys for this process, as they will bring you closer to your immigration goals.
Who Can Request An Immigration Waiver?
Although an immigration waiver can be an alternative for anyone who wishes to request an exception if they are inadmissible, it is not available to everyone. Furthermore, foreigners who are eligible to apply for a waiver must have family ties to a citizen or lawful permanent resident. This includes:
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age,
Eligibility to apply for a pardon may depend on the type of illegal action committed in the United States. Although, normally, those who have remained in the country for more than 180 days will be able to opt for the I-601A waiver.
In some cases, immigrants who have violated certain immigration laws may be subject to the payment of certain immigration bonds.
Waiver Of Inadmissibility For Health-Related Reasons
Your visa or Green Card application is not completed if you are deemed inadmissible for health reasons. However, you can request an exemption, primarily to:
- Communicable diseases,
- Objections to vaccines for religious or moral reasons, and
- Physical or mental disorders.
Each type of case has specific requirements and exemptions are at the discretion of the handling officer.
Tips To Know How To Request An Immigration Waiver To The United States With A Greater Chance Of Success
Most applicants need legal advice during the waiver process to obtain a Green Card or a re-entry. This process includes:
- Submission of the immigration petition,
- Exemption request, and
- Attendance at a consular interview abroad.
The exemption request is usually the most complex part, as it requires demonstrating extreme hardship for the sponsor. It is key to have an experienced immigration attorney like those at Curbelo Law by your side.
Knowing all this, knowing in advance how to request an immigration waiver to the United States could help you:
- Obtain an immigrant visa.
- Being able to enter the United States again.
- Apply for a Green Card and later, over the years, get U. S. citizenship.
- Complete all requirements to legally enter the United States.
- Apply for a stay of deportation.
Immigration Lawyers In New Jersey To Help You With A Waiver Of Inadmissibility
If you are looking for the best immigration attorneys in New Jersey, at Curbelo Law you will be able to obtain a 100% confidential, personalized and satisfactory advice.
Our lawyers will be able to help you how to apply for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility to the United States in the correct way without any worry. Call today and get a private consultation.