When a non-citizen is attempting to travel to the United States, they may be barred from entry due to various reasons. These are called “grounds for inadmissibility,” and usually include reasons such as a prior criminal record or violation. In such cases, even though the person is deemed inadmissible, they may be able to apply for an inadmissibility waiver. If granted, this waiver will allow them to enter the U.S. despite the inadmissibility grounds.
Inadmissibility waivers can often be quite specific and difficult to obtain. However, there is one type of waiver, called a Hranka waiver, which is applicable to many different types of inadmissibility cases. A Hranka waiver is a discretionary waiver, meaning that it is up to the immigration authority’s discretion whether or not to grant the waiver. Using a Hranka waiver, the immigration official can decide to let the person enter the U.S. based on a number of factors that they must consider.
Hranka waivers are so named because they are based on a past immigration case, Matter of Hranka.
First, two main qualifications must be in place in order for a person to obtain a Hranka waiver. These are:
- The person must be applying for a temporary non-immigrant visa (not a permanent visa)
- The person must have been deemed inadmissible for at least one reason
The Hranka waiver is generally requested at a U.S. consular post prior to obtaining a visa. People who already have a visa but have been denied admission to the U.S. for whatever reasons can also apply for a Hranka waiver.
Besides the aforementioned qualifications, the process for obtaining a Hranka waiver can vary greatly from case to case, since the granting of it is based on the subjective decisions of the immigration board or panel. In accordance with the Hranka case, the immigration authorities must basically create a balancing test that weighs several factors against the person’s immigration application. These factors include:
- Any risks of harm to society if the person is granted a Hranka waiver
- The seriousness of the applicant’s previous criminal records or immigration violations (if applicable)
- The nature of the person’s reasons for seeking entry into the U.S.
Hranka waivers can be denied for several reasons; for instance, if the immigration panel decides that the person’s criminal record involved crimes of a serious nature, they might deny the waiver. However, the granting of the waiver can also be based on the totality of the factors surrounding the applicant. Lastly, immigration law does not require that the person’s reasons for entering into the U.S. be “compelling” in order to obtain the waiver. In other words, social visits can often be a good enough basis for the granting of a Hranka waiver.
The Hranka waiver application process can be extremely complex as it requires the review of several different factors for immigration. Each case will be different, since each visa applicant is going to have a different background and different reasons for seeking entry into the United States. It is definitely in your best interests to hire an immigration law attorney in your area if you or a loved one of yours is considering applying for a Hranka waiver. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance during the application process and can represent you if you need to appear before an immigration panel or in immigration court.