Immigration Waivers

Immigration waivers are “pardons” granted by the U.S. government for specific immigration violations.  Immigration violations make you inadmissible. In other words, you cannot get a green card unless you receive an immigration waiver.

When a person applies for a U.S. visa or green card, an immigration officer must determine first if the applicant violated any U.S. laws and is inadmissible to the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security is in charge of ensuring that only admissible immigrants are admitted into the United States. Otherwise, the applicant must ask for a pardon from the government to obtain a green card.


There are several reasons why you might be considered inadmissible to the United States. These are known as “grounds of inadmissibility,” and they can complicate your green card application.

Below are some of the reasons you can be inadmissible to the United States and require an inadmissibility waiver:

  1. Health-related reasons
  2. Certain criminal convictions
  3. Immigration fraud and misrepresentation
  4. Membership in a totalitarian party
  5. Human trafficking
  6. Being subject to a civil penalty
  7. The 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the U.S.

If you think you are inadmissible as an immigrant, there might be an immigration waiver available for you. An immigration lawyer can make analyze your specific situation and decide what is right for you.

First, your entire immigration history must be considered. Immigration violations follow you indeterminately. Therefore, if the violation occurred more than 20 years ago, it will still follow you, and an immigration waiver will be required. If you do not remember and you do not have any documentation of the violation, an immigration lawyer can help you get a copy of your case.

The Freedom of Information Act is a federal law that allows you to apply for copies of your records without any immigration consequences. This is commonly known as a FOIA request. Our immigration attorneys can assist you in making FOIA requests to the different government agencies. Since there are different government agencies that may have your records, you must request the records from each agency separately. Once you receive your records, we can determine whether an inadmissibility waiver is needed or not and which waiver applies to you.

There are two types of immigration waivers. They are 1) provisional unlawful presence waiver (Form I-601A), and 2) waiver for grounds of inadmissibility (Form I-601). Each waiver has a different purpose.

The provisional unlawful presence waiver (Form I-601A) is for individuals who entered the United States without proper documentation. It allows you to apply for the immigration waiver while in the United States before you leave for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

The Form I-601A waiver shortens the time that you are abroad and away from your loved ones in the United States. It also avoids the risk of not being able to reenter if the waiver is denied.

The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (Form I-601A) is available for people who entered the United States without proper documentation and now want to apply for a Green card. The applicant is required to have an approved immigrant visa petition before applying for the I-601A waiver.

If you entered the U.S. without authorization and you are applying for a Green Card, you must leave the United States to obtain your immigrant visa abroad. However, you might encounter problems when you attempt to reenter the country after the interview. A Form I-601A provisional unlawful presence waiver allows you to apply from the U.S. and obtain a pardon before you leave the U.S. for your immigrant visa abroad. That way, your reentry to the U.S. will be quicker, and without the issues, you might otherwise face.

Yes. If you accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States, you might be able to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome the unlawful presence bars before you leave the U.S.

In the past, you could not apply for a I-601A waiver until after you appeared for your visa interview abroad, and the Consular officer determines that you were inadmissible to the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver allows you to apply for the waiver in the United States before you leave for your visa interview. This shortens the time that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident family members are separated from their relatives.

If you are outside of the United States, you can also apply for a Form I-601 waiver after the consular officer determines that you are inadmissible to the United States.

To apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must:

  1. be the spouse, son/daughter of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR);
  2. be able to establish extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent; and
  3. justify a favorable exercise of discretion from the Immigration Director.

Form I-601 Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility

The I-601 waiver for grounds of inadmissibility is submitted to the USCIS while you are outside of the U.S. This waiver pardons different types of inadmissibility, such as health-related reasons, certain criminal convictions, immigration fraud and misrepresentation, membership in a totalitarian party, alien smuggling, being subject to a civil penalty, and the 3-year or 10-year bar due to previous unlawful presence in the U.S.

What Evidence must be included with the Form I-601 Waiver?

In support of your Form I-601 waiver application, you must include evidence that establishes why you qualify for the waiver. In all waivers, you must prove that the favorable factors outweigh the unfavorable factors and that you can justify the favorable discretion of the adjudicating officer. Each waiver case is different, and the type of evidence that must be included with the application varies depending on your situation.

The main factors that are considered in each case are:

  1. Health factors
  2. Financial consideration
  3. Education
  4. Personal consideration
  5. Special factors

You must submit evidence establishing the family relationship to the qualifying relative. You must also submit evidence of the extreme hardship that will be suffered by the qualifying relative.

You must prove that your qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship if you are not allowed back to the United States. You do this by showing how the separation will cause extreme hardship to the qualifying relative in the U.S. Qualifying relatives are the spouse or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Extreme hardship is a difficult task to prove and requires numerous pieces of evidence to make a strong case. The evidence may include affidavits of witnesses, medical documentation, records of good moral character, country conditions, and ties to the United States.

If you were removed from the U.S. or departed after an order of removal and would like to apply for a green card, you must apply for permission to re-reapply for admission into the U.S. (Form I-212). This form will have to be submitted to the government in addition to the waiver. Currently, the filing fee for this application is $930.00.

How Can Immigration Universe Help?

 Immigration Universe understands how stressful it is to be separated from family members. Our immigration lawyers use all tools and resources available to mount a winning case on your behalf. We work closely with our clients and their family members to make compelling legal arguments to convince immigration officers.

Let’s talk about your immigration case. Contact us to speak to an immigration attorney.