Ineligibility & Waivers

To be issued a visa and enter the United States, a foreign national must generally not be ineligible for admission (also known as “inadmissible”). Even after a foreign national has been determined to be ineligible, it may be possible to apply for a waiver (akin to a pardon). The requirements for a waiver depend on the type of ineligibility. Common requirements for waivers include one or more of the following:

  1. The applicant has a “qualifying relative”
  2. That relative would suffer extreme hardship if the applicant were denied the visa
  3. The applicant deserves the waiver as a matter of discretion

Common ineligibilities and corresponding waivers can be divided into the following  categories :

Medical-related grounds 212(g) 
Crime-related grounds 212(h)
Security-related grounds covering Communist Party members seeking immigrant visas Waiver of inadmissibility for totalitarian party membership
Illegal immigrants and immigration law violators, including fraud or misrepresentation 214(i) waivers for fraud or misrepresentation
Persons previously removed or unlawfully present in the U.S. I-212 permission to reapply after removal; Waivers of the 3- and 10-year unlawful presence bars
Prior J-1 exchange visitors subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement No objection, hardship, and persecution waivers

In addition, a 212(d)(3) waiver will waive most ineligibilities in connection with an application for a temporary visa.

For more, read about the grounds of inadmissibility and your options after a consular officer denies your visa application.



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