Immigration Inadmissibility, Waivers, and Your Odds of Success

If you are inadmissible to the United States and are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain nonimmigrant statuses or certain other immigration benefits, your only chance is to file for a waiver. The waiver is Form I-601, and is only applicable for certain grounds of inadmissibility.

First, here is a review of some of the main causes of inadmissibility to the United States:

Health Grounds

  • Those who have a communicable disease of public health significance.
  • Those seeking immigrant status who has failed to receive necessary vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Those who have or have had a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior or harmful behavior that is likely to reoccur. Harmful behavior is behavior that poses, or has posed a threat to person or property.
  • Those who are drug abusers or addicts.

Criminal Grounds for Inadmissibility

  • Drug trafficking.
  • Prostitution.
  • Commercialized Vice.
  • Commission of a serious crime in the United States where a person has asserted immunity from prosecution.
  • Violations of Religious Freedom.
  • Human Trafficking.
  • Money Laundering.
  • Fraud.
  • National security, espionage, links to terrorist activity, questionable political affiliations.

Likelihood of Becoming a Public Charge

A public charge is a person who is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Whether or not a person is likely to become a public charge is determined by examining several factors. At a minimum, the factors that must be considered are health, family status, age, assets, employment history, and education. If after considering the totality of the individual’s circumstances, it is determined that the person is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, that person is inadmissible as a public charge.

Grounds Based on Prior Removals and/or Unlawful Presence

  • Individuals who have been in the United States for a period in excess of 180 days, during a single stay, and then departed the United States.
  • Individuals who have either been removed (or excluded or deported) from the United States or departed the United States on their own volition while a final order of removal was outstanding.
  • Individuals who were unlawfully in the United States for a total of one year (whether accrued during a single stay or multiple stays) and then, illegally re-entered the United States.

Miscellaneous Grounds

  • Persons who entered the country illegally.
  • Persons who failed to attend immigration and/or removal hearings.
  • Smugglers.
  • Student visa abusers.
  • Former U.S. citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation.
  • Practicing polygamists.
  • Unlawful voters.
  • International child abductors and relatives of such abductors.

The Waiver Process

A person who is ineligible to be admitted to the United States as an immigrant or to adjust status in the United States, and certain nonimmigrant persons who are inadmissible, can file Form I-601 or I-601A (specifically for unlawful presence) to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.

Form I-601 is applicable for these cases of inadmissibility:

  • Health-related grounds
  • Certain criminal grounds
  • Immigrant Membership in the Totalitarian Party
  • Immigration fraud or misrepresentation, excluding false claims to U.S. citizens made after September 15, 1997
  • Smugglers and being subject of civil penalty
  • The 3-year or 10-year bar for being unlawfully present in the United States
  • Certain grounds of inadmissibility, if filed by an applicant for TPS
  • Aliens previously removed and unlawfully present after previous immigration violations, if filed by a NACARA or HRIFA adjustment applicant
  • Unlawfully present after previous immigration violations, if filed by a VAWA self-petitioner

Applicants do not have to wait until you have been deemed inadmissible to file your waiver. A provisional unlawful presence waiver is always a good measure for persons with an approved immediate relative petition who are in the United States and believe they are or will be inadmissible for three or ten years upon their departure because they accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States.

The status of being inadmissible is very tricky, and our advice for applicants is to always seek the help of a qualified immigration attorney to improve their chances of success. We have extensive experience with waivers for inadmissibility, and can help to improve your chances of success. Contact us today for more details!