Often when someone is denied a visa, the consulate officer will inform him or her the reason for the denial and whether a waiver is available. Sometimes when the applicant is too focused on meeting the eligibility requirements for a visa, he or she will not realize that the consular officer may deny the application because of a “ground of inadmissibility.” Common grounds of inadmissibility are convictions (or admissions) for a crime involving moral turpitude, misrepresentation and prior unlawful presence in the U.S. of more than 180 days.
Waiver options depend on the ground of inadmissibility and the type of visa the applicant wishes to obtain. The different grounds of inadmissibility are found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212. The following are some of the more common basis of visa denials under section 212 that may require the submission of a waiver application:
If you are seeking a nonimmigrant visa, you will generally be able to apply for a 212(d)(3) waiver. This type of waiver is available for a number of inadmissibility grounds. For more information, click here.
Waivers for immigrant visas are much more restrictive. They are available for only certain grounds of inadmissibility and generally require that the applicant have a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent who will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant were not permitted to enter the United States.
Inadmissibility waivers for immigrant visas are generally submitted in an I-601 waiver application filing. In the past several years, there have been many changes in the way I-601 waivers are handled. For example, if a person is physically present in the U.S., and would be inadmissible for unlawful presence, he or she may take advantage of the Provisional Waiver Application process. For information about specific issues, please see the following:
For a discussion on "extreme hardship", click here.
For 212(h) waivers for certain criminal grounds, click here.
For 212(i) waivers for misrepresentation and fraud, click here.
For a discussion on Provisional Waiver Applications, click here.
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