Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, some classes of foriegn citizens are not eligible to receive a visa.  The Immigration and Nationality Act establish the types of visas available for travel and also what conditions must be met.There are some situations where the visa applicant becomes ineligible.

Below are some of these classes and descriptions of who falls under that class.

Health Related Grounds

This class includes people with a variety of health problems that could pose a threat to others, including:

  • People with communicable diseases of public health significance, including AIDS;
  • People who have failed to present documentation that they have received vaccines for preventable diseases including mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, influenza type B, and Hepattis B.  (There is an exception for some adopted children under the age of 10);
  • People with a physical or mental disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the safety, property, or welfare of himself or others; and
  • People who are drug abusers or addicts.

Criminal Grounds

This class includes people who have committed virually any type of crime, including money laundering, prostitution, and drug distribution.  There are many exceptions to this provision, especially for crimes committed long ago or when the applicant was a minor. 

Security and Related Grounds

 This class includes virtually anyone believed to be a terrorist, spy, or otherwise could pose a threat to the government.  This class also includes people who are or have been members of the Communist party, or any other totalitarian party.  This class also includes people who participated in nazi persecutions or genocide during the Holocaust.  

Likely to Become “Public Charge”

A public charge is a person who requires cash benefits such as welfare from the government.  (Non-cash benefits such as food stamps or medical care typically don’t count as cash benefits).  If you will need cash benefits, you would fall under this category, and therefore be ineligible for a visa.  Whether a person is likely to become a public charge is determined by the consular officer or the Attorney General.  Factors taken into consideration include the applicant’s age, health, family status, assets, financial status, education, and skills. 

Applicant’s Previously Removed

This class includes some people who were previously removed from the U.S., some people who are unlawfully present in the U.S., and some people who are currently in violation of immigration policy. 

Are There Exceptions to These Classes of Ineligibility?

Yes.  There are numerous exceptions in the law that may take an individual out of one of these classes, and allow he or she to receive a visa.  Furthermore, a person who falls under one of these classes can often apply for a waiver to remove their ineligibility. If you are ineligible for a visa based on one or more laws listed in Section 121 (a), you may be able to apply for a waiver.

The visa category you are applying for will determine whether a waiver ineligibility is available. Also the consular officer interviewing you will tell you if you can apply for a waiver and will provide you instructions on how to apply.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you are looking to obtain a visa, and think that you may fall under one of these classes of ineligibility, you should contact a lawyer.  A lawyer experienced in immigration issues can help you to determine whether an exception to the law applies to you.  If no exception applies, an immigration lawyer can help you to apply for a waiver from ineligibility.