How Do I Overcome Inadmissibility Under U.S. Immigration Law?

If you have received an “inadmissible” designation by the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), you probably have a lot of questions regarding what exactly this designation means and how it affects your chances of obtaining a U.S. visa. The Immigration and Nationality Act states that an individual who is inadmissible is not permitted by law to enter or remain in the United States due to reasons such as health, criminal activity, national security, public charge, lack of labor certification (if required), fraud and misrepresentation, prior removals, unlawful presence in the U.S., and several other miscellaneous categories. With an inadmissible designation, you cannot travel to the U.S. for any reason including business, vacation, or visitation. For some grounds of inadmissibility, it is possible for you to obtain a waiver of that inadmissibility. If you have been designated as inadmissible, reach out to an immigration attorney for more information about obtaining an immigration waiver and to schedule a consultation.

Reasons for Inadmissibility

The four most common reasons a person receives a designation of inadmissible are for health reasons, criminal reasons, fraud or misrepresentation, and unlawful presence in the U.S. You can receive inadmissibility for health reasons due to communicable diseases, lack of required immunizations, dangerous physical or mental disorders, drug addictions, etc. You can be inadmissible for criminal reasons due to crimes that violate the principles of morality, justice and honesty, drug-related crimes (in the U.S. or other nations), multiple criminal convictions resulting in five or more years of incarceration, prostitution, drug trafficking, sex crimes, and money laundering. You can be deemed inadmissible for fraud or misrepresentation if you falsified or misrepresented information to obtain a visa, or have committed fraud within the visa application process. You can receive inadmissibility due to unlawful presence because you have illegally entered the U.S., claimed false U.S. citizenship, entered the country as a stowaway, or smuggled/abused a student visa.

Immigration Waivers

If you have been designated as inadmissible that are a variety of immigration waivers that you can apply for to allow you to avoid the penalties that are associated with the violation. The biggest penalty from being considered inadmissible is that you are not legally allowed to be in the United States. Because there are multiple different immigration waivers, you have to consider your unique case to help guide you in picking the right waiver. The most common waivers are the I-601 hardship waiver and the I-601A provisional waiver.

I-601 Hardship Waiver

The I-601 hardship waiver is for illegal aliens who are able to prove that their relatives would suffer from “extreme hardship” if they are forced to leave the U.S. or if the immigration waiver is denied. There are three I-601 waivers that are the most common for immigration cases. These are the criminal conviction waiver, misrepresentation (fraud) waiver, and the unlawful presence waiver. To qualify for a hardship waiver, you must be able to prove that a family member would suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not approved, or that you are under individual conditions that would be acceptable under the discretion of the USCIS. The timeline of approval for an I-601 waiver will vary depending on the service center the waiver is being processed at. Currently, there is about a 4 month processing time at most service centers.

I-601A Waiver

The I-601A waiver is for those who were illegally residing in the U.S. and have been deported to their home country or have received an unlawful presence while living in the U.S. If you have received a designation of unlawful presence in the U.S., it may prevent you from obtaining a permanent resident card (Green Card) status. With this designation, there is usually a 3-year or 10-year bar on being legally allowed to enter the United States. To help avoid these challenges, you can apply for the I-601A waiver. The purpose of this waiver is to lessen the time of period that an undocumented alien is separated from their family. The major distinction between this waiver and the I-601 waiver is that for the I-601A waiver you do not have to exit the country to apply. To be eligible for this waiver you must be 17 years of age or older, not have previously interviewed for an immigrant visa, and not showing the ability to provide proof of approved documents such as Form I-30 or the Petition for Alien Relative. The I-601A waiver generally takes 4 to 6 months to be approved.

Dealing with an inadmissible designation can prevent you from doing a lot of things when it comes to applying for a U.S. visa. The only way to get around this situation is to apply for an immigration waiver. One of the main benefits of receiving an immigration waiver is that there isn’t a long processing time to be approved. Also, with your approval, you will be eligible for certain immigration privileges and be allowed to legally enter the U.S. An experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process of obtaining an immigration waiver to put you in the best possible position for a successful case.

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