Ineligibility to Receive a Visa

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 Are Some People Ineligible to Receive a Visa?

Yes, the U.S. has established several grounds for denying individuals a visa. The reasons for visa denial or “inadmissibility” vary and can be based on health, criminal history, security concerns, previous immigration violations, or other factors.

Health Related Grounds

Some individuals can be denied a visa based on certain health conditions. These might include communicable diseases of public health significance, failure to receive required vaccinations, or certain mental disorders that pose a threat to oneself or others.

Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance

This category encompasses diseases that can be transmitted easily and might lead to outbreaks or epidemics. Examples include tuberculosis, cholera, and certain strains of influenza.

Applicants diagnosed with such diseases are generally considered inadmissible because of the risk they pose to the general population. However, advancements in medical science and changes in disease prevalence can cause the list of significant infectious diseases to be updated periodically.

Failure to Receive Required Vaccinations

Applicants for immigrant visas and certain non-immigrant visas must show proof of vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases. This safeguards the person’s health and helps prevent potential outbreaks in the U.S. Examples of required vaccinations include measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and hepatitis B, among others.

Mental Disorders and Harmful Behaviors

Not all mental health conditions lead to visa ineligibility. However, individuals diagnosed with disorders that have been associated with harmful behaviors to themselves or others might be considered inadmissible.

Harmful behavior is defined as behavior that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others. In such cases, a medical professional’s assessment might be required to determine the severity of the condition and the risk it may pose.

Drug Abuse or Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction are also under the health-related umbrella for visa ineligibility. Individuals identified as drug abusers or people with an addiction, especially those involved with controlled substances recognized by the U.S., can be denied entry. This stipulation is part of broader efforts to combat drug-related issues within the country.

Criminal Grounds

A history of specific criminal activities can result in visa denial reasons. These can include crimes involving moral turpitude, drug trafficking, or multiple criminal convictions that add up to a significant amount of imprisonment.

Security and Related Grounds

Certain activities or affiliations can render someone inadmissible for security reasons. This includes involvement in espionage, terrorism, or membership in totalitarian parties.

Espionage and Sabotage

Engaging in espionage poses a significant threat to national security. Espionage encompasses acts of spying or using spies to obtain secret or confidential information, especially related to defense, government operations, or industrial trade secrets. Individuals suspected of engaging in or planning to engage in espionage or sabotage will be deemed inadmissible.

Terrorism and Terrorist Activities

Terrorism remains one of the most pressing global threats. Individuals with any ties or links to terrorist organizations or those who have engaged in or provided material support for terrorist activities are categorically denied visas. The definition of “terrorist activities” is broad and includes not just direct acts of violence but also planning, gathering funds, or even offering material support like shelter or transportation to known terrorists.

Membership in Totalitarian Parties

The U.S. remains cautious about individuals who have been members of or affiliated with parties that oppose the principles of the U.S. Constitution or seek to undermine democracies. This particularly includes membership in totalitarian parties that don’t allow for political pluralism and often use oppressive means to maintain power. Historically, this was a concern regarding parties like the Communist Party, though it can also apply to other groups.

Genocide and Torture

People who have committed, ordered, incited, or otherwise participated in acts of genocide or torture are also deemed inadmissible. This is consistent with international efforts to combat such heinous crimes and ensure that those responsible do not find safe havens abroad.

Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers

Individuals involved in the recruitment or use of child soldiers are also considered inadmissible. This speaks to the broader U.S. stance against human trafficking and the exploitation of children in armed conflicts.

Likely To Become “Public Charge”

If an applicant is likely to become primarily dependent on the U.S. government for subsistence, they may be deemed inadmissible.

Applicant’s Previously Removed

Individuals who have faced immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa or being deported, might find themselves ineligible for a new visa.

Are There Exceptions to These Classes of Ineligibility?

Yes, in certain circumstances, exceptions or waivers are available for some grounds of ineligibility. For instance, individuals might be eligible for a “waiver of inadmissibility for non-immigrant visa” depending on the nature and circumstances of their ineligibility.

Here are some notable exceptions:

  • Waiver for Health-Related Grounds: In certain cases, individuals initially deemed inadmissible due to health-related grounds can be granted a waiver. For instance, an individual with an infectious disease may still be granted entry if they can provide evidence of undergoing treatment and pose no threat to public health.
  • Criminal Grounds Waiver: A person with a past criminal record (especially for crimes committed long ago or when they were minors) might be granted a waiver, particularly if they can demonstrate rehabilitation or their presence would not be harmful. This is, however, not applicable to severe crimes such as murder or torture.
  • Waiver for Previous Immigration Violations: Applicants previously removed or overstayed might be granted a waiver under specific conditions, often involving a waiting period. For instance, those who were unlawfully present for more than 180 days but less than a year and then voluntarily departed might apply for a visa after three years outside the U.S.
  • Special Provisions for Close Family Members: Family unity is a guiding principle of U.S. immigration policy. As such, certain inadmissible individuals who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for a waiver if they can prove that their inadmissibility would cause extreme hardship to their U.S. relative.
  • Asylum and Refugee Exceptions: Those who seek asylum or refugee status due to fear of persecution in their home country might be granted exceptions, even if they have grounds of inadmissibility. This aligns with the U.S. commitment to protecting human rights and offering refuge to those in genuine need.
  • Waiver of Inadmissibility for Non-Immigrant Visa: For temporary visa applicants, there is a general waiver provision wherein authorities can, at their discretion, waive specific grounds of ineligibility if they deem it in the U.S.’s interest.

Applying for these waivers often requires thorough documentation showing compelling reasons why the waiver should be granted. The US visa waiver of ineligibility processing time varies but can be lengthy, especially when complex legal issues are involved. It’s also worth noting that not every ground of inadmissibility has a corresponding waiver or exception, emphasizing the importance of understanding your situation and seeking legal guidance where necessary.

What Is a Waiver of Ineligibility?

A waiver of ineligibility is a formal process where an individual requests the U.S. government to overlook or forgive specific grounds of inadmissibility, allowing them to receive a visa. The U.S. visa waiver of ineligibility processing time can vary based on the nature of the inadmissibility and the specifics of the case.

How To Apply for a Waiver of Ineligibility to Receive a Visa?

To apply for a waiver of ineligibility for a US visa, you typically need to submit Form I-601 or Form I-212, depending on your inadmissibility. The process may require thorough documentation, evidence, and often an interview.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Given the complexities of immigration laws and the waiver process, consulting an immigration lawyer can be beneficial. They can guide the application for a waiver of ineligibility process and help strengthen your case.

If you’re facing visa ineligibility challenges, consider contacting an attorney through LegalMatch to learn more about U.S. immigration laws.


16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer