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When you apply for a visa or green card, the U.S. government will be checking to make sure you are admissible to the United States. Admissibility is related to whether you are allowed, by law, to enter the United States. If you are found “inadmissible” to the United States, you will not be permitted to enter or stay in the country. Characteristics you may have that make you inadmissible are referred to as “grounds for inadmissibility” and include things such as criminal conviction, visa overstays, and past deportations. In other cases, you will need to request a waiver in order to apply for an immigrant visa or green card. Some of the most common waivers are discussed below:

Unlawful Presence Waiver

If you entered the United States without permission, you will likely need an unlawful presence waiver. This waiver is also called a “Provisional Waiver.” To file this waiver, you must first have certain family members who are U.S. citizens or green card holders who will suffer extreme hardship if you cannot remain in the United States. Unfortunately, if your U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member is your child, you will not be eligible for this waiver. A waiver may also be available if you have simply triggered a three or ten-year bar to admissibility.

Misrepresentation Waiver

If, in the past, you have obtained an immigration benefit through fraud or misrepresentation (meaning you lied to a government official about something related to your immigration status), you will need a waiver to re-enter or enter the United States. Misrepresentation doesn’t only apply to someone who has lied about their status. It can also apply if someone has lied about working in the United States, lied about when they plan to return to their home country, or given any other false information. Importantly, if you have previously lied about being a U.S. citizen, you will not be eligible for any waiver.

A waiver for misrepresentation will require you to have a U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse, fiancé, or parent that will suffer extreme hardship if you are not admitted to the United States. Interestingly, you cannot ask for this waiver based on extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child.

Foreign Residency Requirement Waiver

Certain visas, such as those related to employment an education, require that you spend two years in your home country after your visa expires before you can apply for an immigrant visa or green card in the United States. This causes difficulties for those who have worked or gone to school in the United States and have either gotten married or wish to remain for some other reason.

Like many waivers, residency requirement waivers require you to show extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S. citizen family member. It is important to remember that extreme hardship does not just mean that being separated would be hard on your family. You must show that the hardship your family member would experience would be worse than normal hardships for separated families.

Waiver for Certain Criminal Grounds

If you have a criminal history, you may be considered inadmissible to the United States. Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act contain the criminal violations that require a waiver before you can be legally admitted to the United States. These crimes include prostitution, misdemeanors, a single instance of possession of a small amount of marijuana, and some other minor crimes. Certain crimes, such as murder and torture cannot be waived.

To be eligible to apply for a waiver you must either have a qualifying family member who would endure extreme hardship if a waiver was denied OR 15 years must have passed since you were convicted of the criminal activity in question.

Why You Need a Middle Tennessee Immigration Attorney

Waivers are an essential party of many immigration cases. These cases should not be filed without the assistance of an attorney. Often, it can be costly in time and money for an attorney to fix a problem in a case after it has been filed. Sometimes it is impossible. Knowing if you are eligible for a waiver or which waiver is right for you may be very difficult without the help of an attorney experienced in inadmissibility waivers. If you are concerned that you or your family member may need a waiver call our office to schedule a consultation.

To be eligible to apply for a waiver you must either have a qualifying family member who would endure extreme hardship if a waiver was denied OR 15 years must have passed since you were convicted of the criminal activity in question.

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