US Immigration Waivers
US Immigration can determine that a foreign individual is inadmissible to the US in non-immigrant or immigrant status. There are a variety of reasons that this may occur, but most often they are based on past criminal history, unlawful presence in the US (or entering the US illegally) or by having committed fraud when applying for an immigration benefit.
Criminal grounds of inadmissibility may exist for having committed a crime involving moral turpitude or for drug offenses amongst others. If a person was present for more than 180 days without lawful status and then freely departs the US, they are inadmissible for three years (3 year bar). If they are unlawfully present in the US for one year or more and depart freely, they are then inadmissible for ten years (10 year bar).
However, there exists an I-601 waiver for extreme hardship for certain close relatives of US citizens or lawful permanent residents. The term “extreme” is not to be taken lightly and goes beyond the obvious problems that family separation would cause such as financial hardship. Some factors to consider in documenting a waiver application are health, finances, education, and family relationships. Each case is individual and therefore, the totality of the circumstances must be reviewed, documented and carefully presented for consideration.
Unfortunately, there are some offenses that cannot be waived for immigrant status such as most drug charges, fraudulent claims to US citizenship and people who have tried to enter the US illegally after previously being deported or having been present in the US for one year or more without legal status. But, the applicant may qualify for a waiver to enter the US as a non-immigrant.
Non-immigrant waivers may be applied for by foreigners coming to the US for work, study, vacation or business. The waiver application is made at the US Consulate in the applicant’s home country. The Consulate considers issues such as the risk to others in the US if the applicant is admitted, how severe were the prior criminal or immigration violations and the reason that the applicant seeks to enter the US temporarily. These waivers are granted in five year increments and are therefore not permanent.
A person who was previously deported from the US can be barred from re-entering the US for anywhere from five to twenty years. An application for a waiver in these circumstances is made on form I-212. The application is made either with US immigration or with a US Consulate. The officer will consider the applicant’s character, how long ago he or she was deported, the reason that he or she needs to re-enter the US, whether they were aware that they had been deported, and the amount of time that they had previously been in the US.
Waiver applications are complex and time consuming. They must be carefully documented and the law must be properly argued. The attorneys at Gerstein & Gerstein Attorneys, PA are experienced in handling a variety of waivers and are available to review and advise on your particular situation.