A Waiver of Inadmissibility, also known as a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, is a waiver for entry into the United States given by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to individuals who have been deemed legally inadmissible either as non-immigrants or immigrants. Individuals who are not eligible for legal entry into the country on one or more grounds can make an Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility. If specific requirements associated with the grounds of inadmissibility are satisfied, a Waiver of Inadmissibility might be granted, and the person will receive permission to enter the country.
Waivers of Inadmissibility fall into two categories: non-immigrant and immigrant. Non-immigrant waivers, unless a security issue is the basis for inadmissibility, are generally granted on a somewhat flexible basis. Some of the factors that are considered in granting a non-immigrant waiver are what kind of risk the applicant represents if admitted, the seriousness of the person’s immigration law violation and why the applicant wants to enter the country. A Waiver of Inadmissibility for an immigrant visa is more difficult to get. This type of waiver is available only on a restricted set of grounds, and it usually requires proof that either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident will suffer serious hardship if the applicant is not admitted.
Only certain grounds qualify as a basis to request a Waiver of Inadmissibility. If a person has been denied admission based on health-related issues such as having a communicable disease or mental disorder, it is possible to submit an application for a waiver. In addition, a Waiver of Inadmissibility might be applied for if an individual is denied admission on certain criminal grounds involving, for example, commercialized vice, moral turpitude and controlled substances. Some people who have committed immigration violations — such as previous deportations, illegal entries, document fraud or student visa abuse — might also be eligible for a waiver.
It also is possible for one to request a Waiver of Inadmissibility on security grounds, such as previous espionage or terrorist activity or membership in a political party advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Economic grounds might also be a basis for a person to apply for a waiver. Finally, there are a number of miscellaneous grounds for denial, such as being a draft evader, that might be a basis for obtaining a waiver. Regardless of the type of waiver applied for, there is no guarantee that one will be granted.