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Get a Waiver of Inadmissibility

Heartland Immigration helps individuals obtain a waiver of inadmissibility – inadmissibilities threaten to keep people out of the United States or keep them from adjusting status to that of legal permanent resident. Our immigration lawyers believe you should not have to suffer indefinitely for something in your past or for a something that is beyond your control. We will support you in your effort to have the slate wiped clean so you can realize your U.S. immigration goal of getting a USA green card.

We are able to bring years of honed legal research and drafting skills to bear in crafting your argument as to why an I-601 waiver should be granted in your case. The body of law related to inadmissibilities is complex and often counter-intuitive, presenting a substantial risk to persons who try to apply for an immigration waiver without legal counsel. The immigration lawyers at Heartland Immigration will put legal know-how on your side in dealing with the U.S. immigration authorities.

Call Heartland Immigration today for waiver of inadmissibility assistance: 1-855-USA-IMMIGRATE

Who needs a waiver of inadmissibility?

You need to submit Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, to USCIS if one of the inadmissibilities found in Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) applies to you, and you are:

  • Outside of the U.S., and are (i) applying for an immigrant visa; or (ii) applying for one of a select few classes of nonimmigrant visas – the most common one for which a waiver is needed is the K-1 fiancé visa; or
  • In the U.S., applying for a green card through the process known as adjustment of status

What makes a person inadmissible, requiring a waiver of inadmissibility?

Many grounds for inadmissibility exist under U.S. immigration law. Most involve something a person has done that takes them afoul of the laws, but some are for things beyond a person’s control, such as certain health issues. Section 212(a) of INA lists the grounds that make a person ineligible to receive a visa or admission to the U.S. (which includes getting a green card through adjustment of status), which are categorized in the areas of: Health-related grounds; Criminal and related grounds; Security and related grounds; Persons who would be a public charge; Illegal entrants and immigration violators; Persons lacking certain documentation; Persons who are ineligible for citizenship; Persons who have been deported from the U.S.; and Miscellaneous.

Some of the more commonly encountered grounds of inadmissibility include:

  • Drug abuser or addict, one who has engaged in non-medical use of a controlled substance
  • Crimes involving moral turpitude (also referred to sometimes as a crime of moral turpitude or a moral turpitude crime)
  • Controlled substance violator
  • Multiple criminal convictions
  • Fraud and misrepresentation in a U.S. immigration matter
  • Student visa abuser
  • Aliens previously deported
  • Aliens unlawfully present in the U.S.
  • Unlawful presence (the 3 year bar and the 10 year bar for unlawful presence, including due to a visa overstay, are particularly common – an unlawful presence waiver is available)

How does one get an immigration waiver of inadmissibility?

To get an inadmissibility waiver, one must generally prove to USCIS that “extreme hardship” would be caused for the waiver applicant’s US citizen or green card holder spouse, parent or, in some cases, child. This is done by submitting evidence and a convincing argument along with the I-601 waiver application.

Heartland Immigration can help you craft your 601 waiver application package and answer questions like what is extreme hardship in the immigration waiver context. Whether you need a waiver for unlawful presence or for criminal activity, or for any other reason, a Heartland Immigration lawyer can advise.

Get a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

Individuals who are subject to the unlawful presence inadmissibility and who are relatives of U.S. citizens, and in the near future, of green card holders, can under certain circumstances benefit from a provisional unlawful presence waiver.  Such a waiver greatly reduces the time a person who is otherwise qualified for a green card will have to spend apart from their loved ones in the United States by allowing them to apply for the immigration waiver they need while still in the USA, as opposed to being able to do so only once they have traveled abroad for their immigrant visa interview.  More information is included below.  To speak with an immigration attorney about whether you or a family member can qualify for a provisional waiver of inadmissibility, call Heartland Immigration: 1-855-USA-IMMIGRATE (1-855-872-4664)

How the Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence Works

An immigration inadmissibility for unlawful presence comes in to play where a person is in undocumented status – most commonly because they entered the country without a visa or entered legally but overstayed their visa validity – in the United States for 180 days or more.  People who are out of status between 180 days and one year are inadmissible to the USA for three years from the time inadmissibility is triggered (i.e., from the time they leave the country), while individuals who are unlawfully present for more than a year become inadmissible for a full 10 years (these are the so-called three year bar and ten year bar).

As long as this inadmissibility is in place, a person cannot get a U.S. immigration benefit.  This includes a green card, even where the person is otherwise qualified.  A waiver of inadmissibility, granted by USCIS, cures this defect, making it almost as if the inadmissibility never existed, and allowing the person to get the green card or other U.S. immigration benefit they seek.

The problem, though, is that these waiver applications can take a very long time to process (even years in some cases), and they often – such as in the case of a person who entered the U.S. illegally – cannot be applied for until after the green card seeker has had their immigrant visa interview in their home country and been officially found “inadmissible” by a U.S. consular officer. Normally, absent an inadmissibility, a person in the USA who qualified for a green card could get it through a process called adjustment of status without ever having to leave the country, but certain factors can require that the person leave the United States and get an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad; only then can they return to the USA, after which time their green card gets mailed to them.  This means that a person who is living in the United States may be separated from their family in the USA for months or even years while waiting in their home country for the unlawful presence waiver to come through.  They will not be allowed to return to the USA, even on a tourist visa, unless and until they get a waiver of inadmissibility for the unlawful presence.

The immigration authorities moved to close this gap, with the aim of keeping families together, by allowing certain people to apply while still in the United States for a “provisional” waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence.  They submit to USCIS Form I-601A, which USCIS reviews while the individual is still in the country.  That review is done before the individual travels abroad for their immigrant visa interview (but the decision as to whether to grant the waiver does not become final until after the visa interview).  If the waiver is granted and the consular officer decides that the person meets all other requirements, they will get an immigrant visa to travel to the U.S. within a few days of their visa interview, as opposed to having to wait months or longer from the time of the interview.

At present, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can benefit from this provisional waiver process.  An immediate relative is defined, for immigration purposes, as the parent, spouse or child (unmarried person who is under 21) of an American citizen.  Beginning in early-to-mid 2015, however, the program will be expanded to include (i) sons or daughters of U.S. citizens (meaning any children of a U.S. citizen, even if those children are over 21 or married); and (ii) spouses,  as well as sons or daughters, of green card holders.

Who Qualifies for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

In addition to proving that a “qualifying relationship,” discussed in the prior paragraph, exists, an applicant for a provisional waiver of unlawful presence waiver must:

  • Be at least 17 years old;
  • Have an approved immigrant petition, usually Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.  This means that USCIS has already confirmed that the applicant meets the threshold requirements for getting a green card, but it is not a final approval or guarantee that a green card or immigrant visa will be issued;
  • Have already applied to the Department of State for an immigrant visa, and have paid the requisite fee;
  • Be present in the United States to file your I-601A waiver application with USCIS, and to provide biometrics;
  • Meet certain other requirements, as described in the Form I-601A instructions; and
  • Show that being refused permission to live in the USA would result in “extreme hardship” for their qualifying relative (i.e., the relative who is a U.S. citizen (or in the future, green card holder))

The last requirement, that one demonstrate extreme hardship to their qualifying relative in the USA, can be tough to satisfy.   Extreme hardship is a nebulous term – USCIS has promised to try to better define exactly what is likely to count as extreme hardship in the waiver context as part of its expansion of the provisional unlawful presence waiver program, slated to begin in 2015.  A Heartland Immigration attorney can help you craft a persuasive argument as to why the extreme hardship requirement is satisfied in your provisional unlawful presence waiver case. For assistance, call: 1-855-USA-IMMIGRATE (1-855-872-4664)

Inadmissibility waiver in the non-immigrant visa context

In addition to preventing someone from getting a US green card through adjustment of status or consular processing, a USA immigration inadmissibility also keeps a person from getting a non-immigrant visa, such as a US tourist visa, a student visa or an H-1B business visa.

An applicant for a non-immigrant visa does not submit Form I-601 to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Rather, they request an inadmissibility waiver at a US embassy or consulate abroad. No special form is needed. Heartland Immigration can help you prepare a waiver application packet for these situations for submission to the consular officer, arguing as to why you deserve a waiver.

Heartland Immigration will be happy to help you with your immigration waiver: For assistance, call: 1-855-USA-IMMIGRATE (1-855-872-4664)

Content on this page is provided by Brad Menzer, who can be contacted at

Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you get a K-1 fiancé visa:

Nationwide: 1-855-USA-IMMIGRATE (1-855-872-4664)

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