What are immigration waivers, and why would you need one? As an applicant for some kind of immigration benefit, you might find that the USCIS states that you are ineligible for that benefit because of something that you have done, possibly a criminal offense or a violation of an immigration regulation. If you can find a waiver that covers your circumstances, it is often possible to continue to pursue the immigration benefit after successfully requesting the waiver. We can illustrate this concept with three examples before discussing all the waivers that are available.
Waiver of Inadmissibility to the USA Example
- You are an applicant for admission to the United States from Canada; i.e. your Canadian citizen who wants to come to America for business or personal reasons. You make application to the border and are told that due to a criminal conviction 15 years ago your inadmissible to the United States. You can either give up your request to enter the United States and accept that you are inadmissible, or you can apply for a waiver of your inadmissibility so that you may enter the United States. You can read more about this waiver here.
Canadian Rehabilitation – Waiver of Inadmissibility to Canada Example
- As an aside, applicants for admission to Canada discover that this need for waivers works both ways across the border. If you are United States citizen and have committed a crime or violated some of Canada’s immigration regulations you may be refused immigration benefit of entering Canada as a tourist or businessperson. In order to remedy this situation you would need to apply for a waiver to to enter Canada. The Canadian authorities labeled this waiver process rehabilitation. You apply to be rehabilitated so that you may enter Canada. One of the most common fact patterns for this type of situation is that you have been convicted of an offense relating to alcohol and driving like driving under the influence. You can read more about it here.
Unlawful Presence Waiver/Provisional Waiver Example
- You enter the United States without inspection 10 years ago and have been living and working here since then. You met and married a United States citizen. Your spouse has petitioned for an immigrant visa for you. You will not be eligible for that immigrant visa in the United States through adjustment of status. Your unauthorized entry means you only way to collect this visa is through consular processing. However, the moment that you leave the United States you will trigger the unlawful presence bar, and will be ineligible to enter the United States for 10 years due to having stayed unlawfully for more than one year. The only route that can help you here is applying for an unlawful presence waiver. Previously, you had to make application for this a lawful presence waiver once you have left the United States and after the consulate found you inadmissible. Now you are able to apply for these unlawful presence waivers prior to completing consular processing. If you are granted a waiver you can attend the interview to receive the immigrant visa in your home country and be back inside the United States as a lawful permanent resident within one week.
Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents and non-Permanent Residents
Waivers cover many common immigration infractions. Another common waiver is that of cancellation of removal. This is available to lawful permanent residents and non-lawful permanent residents to waive their removal from the United States. With better tracking of criminal records available these days, many lawful permanent residents discover that they are being told that they are inadmissible after taking a trip abroad. Customs and Border Patrol will usually let lawful permanent residents with old criminal convictions into the United States and schedule a removal hearing in immigration court. If the criminal conviction leading to inadmissibility cannot be challenged, the lawful permanent resident can make application that the removal is canceled. This type of relief is often fairly easy to obtain for lawful permanent residents who have led productive lives since the criminal conviction. Similarly, non-lawful permanent residents who have had 10 years in the United States and who have US citizen relatives, often children, can make application for the cancellation of removal from the United States in an immigration court proceeding. While there is no limit on the number of removals that can be canceled by an immigration judge for lawful permanent residents, only 4000 nonresident cancellation of removal waivers are available each year.
Waivers for Old Crimes, Crimes of Moral Turpitude, and Possession of Marijuana
Waivers are also available for old crimes, ones that are more than 15 years old, crimes of moral turpitude and simple possession of marijuana. This waiver usually arises in connection with the application for an immigrant visa for a spouse where the spouse has one of the convictions listed.
Waivers for Fraud or Misrepresentation
Sometimes people lie or misrepresent some fact about themselves during the application for a visa or during the admission into the United States. Examples of this would be requesting a tourist visa to come to the United States when your real motive was operating a business. Alternatively, if you used a fake passport, or someone else’s passport during entry this is obvious fraud. Later on if you became eligible for an immigrant visa, you need a waiver for your previous fraudulent conduct.
You can read more about waivers related to the circumstances that we have described at the links below:
- Waiver to Enter the United States
- Waiver to enter Canada (Rehabilitation)
- Unlawful Presence Waivers
- Waiver for Removal or Deportation
- Cancellation of Removal
- Waiver for an Old Crime, Crimes of Moral Turpitude and Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Waiver for Misrepresentation or Fraud in Procuring a Visa or Entry
- Other Waivers
Immigration Law of Montana has assisted many people obtain waivers to deal with the issue of inadmissibility, or remove ability from the United States. Please contact us if you need help with a waiver.