An Inadmissibility Waiver allows some foreign citizens to enter into the United States even though they would otherwise be denied entry.  Also called “Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility”, the waiver only applies to certain categories of applicants.  If a person is deemed inadmissible, they cannot enter the country unless they obtain a waiver.  

Inadmissibility is different from removal in that the alien cannot initially enter the U.S.  On the other hand, removal (deportation) occurs after the person has already entered the country.

Which Inadmissibility Grounds do Waivers Apply to?

An alien might be denied entry into the U.S. based on “grounds of inadmissibility”.  These are factors based on the person’s background and purpose for entering the U.S.  Inadmissibility waivers can only be requested for the following inadmissibility grounds:

  • Failing to present the required documents (passports, green cards, visas, etc.)
  • Unlawful presence in the United States
  • Immigration fraud
  • Health-related factors (such as certain communicable diseases)
  • Criminal records involving moral turpitude and other serious factors
  • Smuggling or human trafficking
  • Prior inadmissibility if filed under Temporary Protected Status
  • In some instances, prior removal or deportation

Inadmissibility waivers may NOT be available if the following inadmissibility factors are present:

  • Certain criminal charges involving drug trafficking
  • A history of drug abuse or drug addiction
  • Possibility that the applicant will become a “public charge” (i.e., in jail or on welfare status)
  • Prior history of being a spy or belonging to a totalitarian regime (such as the Nazi party), if they are deemed a threat to national security

How is Eligibility for an Inadmissibility Waiver Determined?

Eligibility for a Waiver of Admission depends on several factors.  The determination will of course vary with each individual application.  For most cases the alien and their lawyer must prove that granting a waiver would be more fair than denying entry. 

When immigration authorities review waiver applications, the following factors would weigh heavily in the applicant’s favor:

  • The risks to the public in granting a waiver would be minimal
  • The waiver would serve a humanitarian function or purpose
  • The waiver would agree with principles of public interest
  • The waiver would assist in maintaining family unity

What Types of Documents are Needed When Filing for an Admissibility Waiver?

The applicant will usually be required to submit several documents in connection with the waiver, including but not limited to:

  • Affidavits or statements of purpose from the alien in support of the waiver application
  • Police records from the person’s country of origin
  • Court records, convictions, or charges (from any applicable country)
  • Evidence proving that the waiver would not endanger national security
  • Evidence of completion of court requirements for crimes such as rehabilitation
  • Evidence of hardships that would occur if the waiver were to be denied
  • Other documents such as medical reports, birth certificates, marriage and family certificates, and financial statements

These should be submitted promptly to the immigration agency, along with any other documents or evidence that is requested. 

What if My Application for an Admissibility Waiver is Denied?

If your waiver application is denied, it’s not the end of the story.  You may be able to apply for entry at a later date, typically after a specified waiting period. 

Bear in mind that waivers cannot normally be appealed, since they are already a “second-effort” after admission is denied.  However, be sure to inform authorities if any errors or misunderstandings have been made in the process of applying. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With an Inadmissibility Waiver?

Requesting a waiver for grounds of inadmissibility can be a complex process.  You may wish to contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with all the necessary documents and requirements.  Inadmissibility waivers often involve an in-depth examination of your history, background, and criminal record (if any).  Thus, a lawyer can be of much help in reviewing all of the admissibility factors.