The Shapiro Law Firm, LLC
Attorneys & Counselors at Law
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“Waive” goodbye to inadmissibilities.

What does it mean to be Inadmissible to the United States?

Grounds of Inadmissibility apply to non-citizens who are seeking "admission" to the U.S.  "Admission" is the term for a lawful entry into the U.S. that occurs after being inspected by and authorized by an immigration officer.  An "Applicant for Admission," refers to:

(1) Non-citizens who arrive at a port-of-entry to the U.S.;

(2) Non-citizens who are already in the U.S. without being lawfully admitted, and;

(3) Nonimmigrants who are in the U.S. and are applying for Adjustment of Status.

If you are inadmissible to the U.S. for any of the following reasons, you may be ineligible to apply for certain immigration benefits and forms of relief.  There are exceptions and waivers allowed for certain grounds of inadmissibility.  See "Waiver of Inadmissibility," below to learn more.

Inadmissibility Grounds:

Health-Related Grounds

Communicable Disease (Ex. Tuberculosis or certain STDs)

Drug Abusers or Addicts

Physical or Mental Disorders

Illegal Entrants & Immigration Violators

Entry Without Inspection (EWI)

Failure to Attend Removal Proceedings

False Claim to U.S. Citizenship

Fraud or Misrepresentation



Unlawful Presence after Previous Removal from U.S.

Criminal-Related Grounds

Controlled Substance Violations

Crimes involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)

Drug Trafficking (no conviction required)

Human Trafficking

Money Laundering

Multiple Criminal Convictions with a total aggregate prison sentence of 5 years or more

Prostitution or Commercial Vice

Practicing Polygamists

Spouse/ Child of Drug Trafficker Benefited from Drug Trafficking within past 5 years

Spouse/ Child of Human Trafficker Benefited from Human Trafficking within past 5 years

National Security-Related Grounds

Foreign Govt Officials who committed particularly severe violations of human rights

Membership into Totalitarian Party

Nazis, Participants in genocide, torture or extrajudicial killings


Economic Grounds

Public Charge

Other Inadmissibility Grounds

Persons Subject to Civil Penalty

Waiver of Inadmissibility

If you are subject to one or more inadmissibility grounds, you will not be able to obtain a Green Card without an approved Waiver for each and every inadmissibility ground. Fortunately, most of the grounds of inadmissibility are subject to waivers. A "Waiver of Inadmissibility" is a form of relief that will forgive or excuse one or more of the inadmissibility grounds in order to permit an individual to apply for a Green Card. There are different types of waivers that apply depending on the grounds for inadmissibility as well as the immigration benefit sought. Below are examples of some of the more popular Waivers of Inadmissibility along with basic eligibility requirements.  It is important to note that the decision to grant or deny a waiver request is a completely discretionary decision made by USCIS.  That means, even if you meet all of the eligibility requirements for a waiver, USCIS is acting within their delegated power to deny your waiver request.  It is thus crucial to present waiver requests properly and highlight all of the evidence that warrants a favorable decision in your case.

*Contact us today if You are Inadmissible to the U.S. for any reason and want to see if there is a Waiver applicable to your case. Inadmissibility Grounds and Waivers are very complicated and it is strongly advised that you do not attempt to seek a Waiver without the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.*



What is a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver? +

This Waiver is available to certain individuals who are in the U.S. unlawfully. "Unlawful Presence" can refer to individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection, (“EWI”), to individuals who entered the U.S. with a valid Nonimmigrant Visa but did not leave after their period of authorized stay expired and to individuals who entered the U.S. with a valid Nonimmigrant or Immigrant Visa and subsequently went out of lawful status by violating the terms of his or her visa.

Am I eligible for an Unlawful Presence Waiver? +

You may be eligible for this waiver if you:

  1. Are physically present in the U.S.;
  2. Are age 17 or older;
  3. Are the beneficiary of an approved Immigrant Visa petition classifying you as Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident;
  4. Have an immigrant visa case pending with the U.S. Department of State and you paid the immigrant visa processing fee;
  5. Entered the U.S. without inspection (undocumented);
  6. Entered the U.S. in lawful immigration status as a valid visa holder (inspected & admitted), but became unlawfully present by:
    • Staying past the date authorized to remain in the U.S. (as listed on most recent I-94, Arrival/ Departure Document), and/ or;
    • Violating the terms of your visa.
  7. Are refused admission to the U.S., your U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Spouse or Parent will suffer an 'Extreme Hardship,' AND;
  8. Are not inadmissible to the U.S. for any other reason.

If my Unlawful Presence Waiver is Approved, do I Need to Leave the Country to Get My Green Card? +

Yes, you must exit the country and attend your Green Card interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate Abroad. The good news is, that you do not have to leave the U.S. until you know that your Waiver is approved, thereby drastically decreasing the amount of time that you will have had to wait outside the U.S. before you are allowed to re-enter the country as a Permanent Resident.

After your waiver is approved, the National Visa Center, (“NVC”), is notified, and you will receive notice that your immigrant visa interview has been scheduled abroad (generally 2- weeks after receiving the notice). You will then depart the U.S. to attend your interview and obtain your Immigrant Visa, which will allow you to immediately return to the United States. Your Green Card will then be mailed to you within 90 days of your entry. Prior to 2013, you would not have even been able to start the waiver process, (which can take 6-12 months, on average), until you departed the U.S..


What is the difference between a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver and a General Waiver of Inadmissibility? +

The main difference between the 2 types of waivers is that the Unlawful Presence Waiver will only help an individual whose ONLY ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence, while a general waiver can waive any inadmissibility ground (see above for a list of the more common inadmissibility grounds) that my apply to an individual.

As a General Waiver, your ground(s) of inadmissibility, as well as the immigration benefit that you seek, determine what factors must be proven for an approval. Below are some of the most common inadmissibility grounds that waivers are successfully filed for.

Remember, not every ground of inadmissibility can be waived. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible for a waiver.

Fraud & Misrepresentation Waiver +

An individual who has procured, or sough to procure, an immigration benefit by fraud or misrepresentation is inadmissible. In order to waive this ground of inadmissibility, you must prove:

1 . Extreme Hardship to at least 1 of the following Qualifying Relatives:

2 . A favorable exercise of discretion is warranted in your case.

Waiver for Certain Criminal Offenses +

Waivers of inadmissibility for criminal grounds are only available for certain criminal offenses, including:

  1. Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT);

  2. One conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana;

  3. Multiple Criminal Convictions;

  4. Prostitution, and;

  5. Certain aliens involved in serious criminal activity who have asserted immunity from prosecution.

There are certain categories of criminal offenses for which no waivers are available, including, but not limited to:

  1. Murder;

  2. Torture, and;

  3. Conspiracy to commit murder or torture.

The factors that you must prove in order to be eligible for a criminal-related waiver depends on the criminal offense that renders you inadmissible. Generally, you will either need to prove that the relevant criminal offense was committed more than 15 years before applying for admission to the U.S. OR Extreme Hardship to a Qualifying Relative, (“QR”).

Please Contact us to learn more about the above criminal-related waivers, as this is an extremely complicated area of law and is very much dependent on individual circumstances.

What is an "Extreme Hardship?"

The term "Extreme Hardship," is an ambiguous term that is not defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or by federal case law.  Basically, an "Extreme Hardship" means that if you are removed from the U.S., the hardship suffered by your Qualifying Relative, (“QR”), will be unusual and beyond that which a similar-situated QR would normally experience.  You must show that your QR will suffer an Extreme Hardship in 2 different situations: if you leave the U.S. without your QR AND if your QR leaves the U.S. with you.  USCIS will look at a variety of factors to determine if your QR's hardship rises to the level of extreme, including, but not limited to:

  1. QR's family ties to the U.S.;

  2. QR's family ties to the country of removal;

  3. Country Conditions;

  4. QR's age and length of residence in U.S.;

  5. Relevant medical and mental health conditions;

  6. Financial Hardships, and/ or;

  7. Educational Hardships.

None of the above-factors alone will be determinative. Rather, USCIS will examine the factors in the aggregate to determine if your QR will suffer an Extreme Hardship. 

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