Waivers immigration law

Guiding you through gaining immigration waivers

uscis immigration waiver

We can help you immigrate using various immigration waivers

We can help you apply for the appropriate waivers. Are you not eligible for a green card? Are you unable to enter the United States? If yes, then you have come to the right place. We are aware of situations where immigrants and non-immigrants alike have been deemed to be ineligible for permanent resident status or inadmissible to enter the U.S. on the basis of different grounds. However, this may be remedied by applying for an appropriate waiver. We have many years of experience in dealing with such cases and can help you through this troublesome and time-consuming process.

Waivers and the immigration process

Identifying your family’s situation

There are different types of waivers to help address inadmissibility issues, and the application process for each varies. Below are a few of the more common types of waivers:

Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant:

This is a temporary waiver of inadmissiblity for nonimmigrant visa applicants who face inadmissbility issues related to criminal violations, health issues, prior immigration violations, etc.

uscis immigration waiver

The form itself is not difficult to complete, but depending on how many grounds of inadmissibility the foreign national is required to address, he/she may need to submit extensive supporting documentation in order to prove eligibility. A separate visa application also needs to be provided to accompany the waiver. The application may be submitted in advance to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (instead of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) at the border or port of entry if the applicant is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadians) or has since become admissible with the proper visa documentation.

Form I-212: Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States After Deportation or Removal:

Foreign nationals may be required to file Form I-212 (otherwise known as consent to reapply), in addition to a nonimmigrant or an immigrant visa application, if they have previously been removed or deported from the United States and wish to come back before completing their periods of required absence (the possible period ranges from 5, 10, 20 years to a life-time bar). Permanent bars of reentry apply to individuals who have in total one year of unlawful presence, were removed or deported, and then subsequently reentered, or attempted to reenter the United States without permission. Foreign nationals who face the permanent bar in this situation will generally need to wait out the required period of 10 years from abroad before seeking to reapply using Form I-212. If I-212 is approved, the applicant will then be permitted to continue making a visa application for the visa category he/she seeks. In cases where a foreign national faces additional grounds of inadmissiblity, he/she may also need to apply for a separate waiver such as an I-601.

Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver:

Another common scenario requiring a waiver involves foreign nationals who want to apply for U.S. permanent resident status but are unable to do so due to unlawful entries and/or long periods of unlawful presence. In this type of situation, if the foreign national has a qualifying U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative, like a spouse or a parent, he/she may be able to still obtain a green card one day after proving that his/her inability to do so will pose “extreme hardship” to the qualifying U.S. relative.

In a situation where the only inadmissibility issues are unlawful entry and/or a long period of unlawful presence, if the foreign national is physically present in the United States and also has a qualifying U.S. relative to sponsor his/her family-based immigration process, the hardship waiver process may begin with the filing of Form I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The waiver applicant may remain in the United States while the I-601A process remains pending and if approved, he/she may begin consular processing their immigrant visa application that will eventually require the applicant to travel abroad to interview at a U.S. embassy.

Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility:

On the other hand, if the foreign national applying for U.S. permanent resident status faces inadmissibility issues other than (or in addition to) unlawful entry or unlawful presence, he/she may be required to use Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility to prove extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S. relative, which may be a parent, a spouse, or a child, depending on the underlying basis for which a waiver is required. In this type of situation, if the foreign national is physically outside of the United States, he/she will most likely have to remain abroad until the waiver process is first approved, and the foreign national successfully applies for an immigrant visa at a nearby U.S. Embassy.

In whichever case that applies, the entire waiver immigration process can take several months, sometimes years, to get through.

Identifying your family’s situation

There are different types of waivers to help address inadmissibility issues, and the application process for each varies. Below are a few of the more common types of waivers:

Form I-601:

If you live abroad and a U.S. consular officer has deemed for you to be ineligible for an immigrant visa because you are inadmissible to the U.S. then you can file an application for a waiver of inadmissibility. This can be done through filing Form I-601 (and Form I-212 if you are deported from the U.S.) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You can submit this form either online or by mail. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will adjudicate your application and inform you about their decision. It will take approximately 3-4 months for the entire process.

Form I-601A:

Form I-1601A cannot be filed with any other applications, petitions or requests for benefits. Through this form, you are asking the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services if they can lift the ban on you returning to the U.S. if you leave to apply for your green card. Once you file this form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you will have to appear for a biometrics appointment where your FBI criminal history record will be checked.

uscis immigration waiver

Most helpful arguments to make in support of a hardship waiver case

Most common options for waivers

To successfully argue a hardship waiver case, the key is to prove that the qualifying US relative (NOT the waiver applicant) will suffer so much hardship that he/she basically will be unable to survive. Immigration officers receive many applications that ask for relief to be granted in all kinds of sympathetic situations. A hardship waiver applicant must bear in mind that the kind of hardship to his/her US relative must somehow exceed the type that one reasonably expects to see in a difficult situation when family members become separated from each other. Persuasive arguments on this point may include:

  • The US relative has pre-existing serious or potentially life-threatening health problems (including psychological or emotional trauma) that may be aggravated if the waiver applicant cannot immigrate to the United States;
  • The US relative will face devastating financial disruptions in the absence of the foreign national, such as in the case when the US relative is completely dependent on the foreign national for financial support;
  • The foreign national and the US relative have small children together, and at least one child has physical or mental conditions requiring specialized medical treatment or counseling, which may be unavailable in the waiver applicant’s home country;
  • Severe economic, social and political instability in the waiver applicant’s home country;
  • Tangible positive contributions made by the foreign national during his/her time in the United States, if applicable;
  • The presence of many ties to the U.S., such as other family members who are supportive of the foreign national and his/her qualifying US relatives, jobs, business connections, schools, doctors, etc., and conversely, the lack of such ties in the waiver applicant’s home country.
The hardship waiver process is discretionary, which means that if the reviewing immigration officer cannot see or feel how the level of hardship is more than what one would reasonably expect in any difficult situation, chances are the application will not be approved. For families considering pursuing this immigration option, please contact our office today for a consultation.

Form I-601 eligibility criteria

  • You are not physically present in the U.S.
  • You are an applicant for an immigrant visa.
  • You are an applicant for Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent residence.
  • You are an applicant for Temporary protected Status.

Form I-601A eligibility criteria

  • You are physically present in the U.S.
  • You are at least seventeen years old.
  • You have an immigrant visa case pending before the U.S. Department of State.

Potential problems during waivers

Identifying your family’s situation

No qualifying US relatives

Most of the waivers require the presence of a qualifying US family member, like a spouse, a parent or a child. In the absence of these relationships, the waiver process may not be possible.

Grounds of inadmissibility exceed scope

The presence of additional grounds of inadmissibility exceeding the scope of the specific waiver sought. For example, an immigrant visa applicant in an I-601A process has criminal issues in addition to overstaying in the United States and having an illegal entry. The I-601A application can only waive the inadmissibility grounds based on the unlawful entry and unlawful presence, but not the criminal issues, which will need to be separately addressed.

Multiple illegal reentries

Multiple illegal reentries. A foreign national who repeatedly enters the United States illegally may face a permanent immigration bar, as well as criminal prosecutions.

Removal orders

A foreign national who has been previously removed from the United States who wishes to come back will be required to apply for waivers addressing the removal order as well as other underlying grounds of inadmissibility.

Incomplete, incorrect documentation is filed OR lack of “extreme hardship” proof

People often fail to submit the complete documents and the correct information required for a successful waiver application. “Extreme hardship” is not defined in the immigration statutes or regulations but only through case law. So there is no exact definition of what it is and therefore is subject to the interpretation of the immigration officer or if in court for removal proceedings, an immigration judge. Therefore, it is always vital to conduct a thorough evaluation of a hardship waiver case and identify key arguments to help prove extreme hardship in advance.

You don’t meet the eligibility requirements

One of the most common reasons why people get denied waivers is because they don’t meet with the eligibility criteria that has been outlined above. Only immigrants that meet these criteria will continue through the waiver process.

Incomplete, incorrect documentation is filed OR lack of “extreme hardship” proof

People often fail to submit the complete documents and the correct information required for a successful waiver application.

One criteria you may have to prove, in addition to the above, is that of “extreme hardship.” There is not an exact definition of what this is but is at the discretion of the immigration officer. Essentially, you need to prove that if your application is denied, you or your family will face extreme hardship by having to move overseas.

Unfortunately, separating your family is not considered “extreme” enough as every family who is denied experiences the same fate.

Situations that may be more extreme would be if family had to move back to a country where they DO NOT speak that language and no other family is located there, face various health challenges by moving to this location, or if a family member would lose their job as they are unable to perform the same duties overseas.

Not meeting deadlines

Documentation has to be provided in a timely manner and additional resources may be requested by the immigration officer if they were not provided previously. If these are not submitted by these deadlines, you application will be denied

Schedule an appointment with Jane today

for an in-person consultation at our Dublin office or online

Applying for immigration waiver can be quite complicated if you are not familiar with the process and documentation required. We have over 15 years of experience in immigration and working with various immigration offices and can help get your waivers approved.

Get a one-on-one consultation with Jane so she can identify your needs on how we can help you.

Contact our team today to book an appointment.

See our Frequently Asked Questions below for commonly asked questions about immigration waivers.

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Frequently asked questions about immigration waivers

There are multiple reasons why a foreign national may need to secure a waiver before applying for a visa to enter the U.S. legally such as, being deported or removed from the U.S., overstaying in the U.S. past the visa expiration date and/or being charged with or convicted for a crime.

There are various kinds of waivers depending on the issue that needs to be waived, including waiver after prior removal, waiver of unlawful presence, waiver for crimes more than fifteen years old, waiver for crimes of moral turpitude, waiver for possession of marijuana and general waiver for non-immigrants.

Some people are inadmissible and ineligible to receive visas to enter the U.S. and these grounds may include, health-related grounds, criminal grounds, security grounds, public charges, person not in possession of Labor Certification (if applying to enter the U.S. for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor), illegal entrants and immigration violator and persons who are not in possession of the required documents to apply for a U.S. visa.