I Need to File a Waiver (Unlawful presence, Criminal, Fraud, Smuggling). What Are My Chances?

Those who are officially deemed “inadmissible” to the United States and are seeking an immigrant visa or adjustment of status, must file USCIS Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

But not everyone is eligible to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility—only certain types of applicants within each category qualify for applying (and this does not guarantee approval).

Unlawful Presence

If you have accumulated unlawful presence  in the United States, you are deemed inadmissible for a certain period of time, but at times, it is possible to get a waiver of inadmissibility.

You may be able to get a waiver if you have a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent (but not a child) who will experience “extreme hardship” if you are denied admission. Needless to say, it is the proving of the hardship that is the hardest part. USCIS has a vague definition of this, and you are really better off working with an immigration attorney to make sure you are crafting an adequate argument and providing sufficient evidence of the extreme hardship.

Criminal Grounds

Even if you have been deemed inadmissible due to criminal activity, you may have a chance of getting a waiver. Only certain criminal grounds allow for a waiver application—waivers are not allowed for murder, aggravated felonies, or crimes related to controlled substances. They are allowed for certain crimes of moral turpitude, prostitution, and, when it comes to controlled substances, the single offense of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

If you fall within one of the allowed categories,, you have to meet these further requirements:

  • It has been more than 15 years since you committed the crime and applied for admission to the United States, or
  • You have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent who will experience extreme hardship if you are denied admission

If you are applying based on the passage of time since your crime, the main thing you want to focus on is proving that you have not committed any other crimes in the interim and that you have been fully rehabilitated.  Proof of community involvement, steady employment, and other similar factors can help make your case, but it will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your application.

Again, if you are trying to prove extreme hardship of a qualifying relative, we recommend that you work with an immigration attorney to ensure you are crafting a sufficient response.

If you have any further questions about waivers of inadmissibility, or if you are ready to file for your waiver now, contact us to schedule a consultation!