Causes of Inadmissibility
Being rendered inadmissible can be the result of one or more of several factors. The reason(s) for your inadmissibility play a major role in whether waivers of inadmissibility will be able to help you.
Some factors of inadmissibility are unfortunately completely disqualifying. Others can potentially be circumvented through waivers. We will always be forthright with the odds of success when evaluating if we can bypass an inadmissibility ruling.
Factors that can trigger inadmissibility include:
- Failure to appear at an immigration hearing. If you are ever summoned to court as part of removal proceedings or any other type of immigration matter, you are required to appear. Failure to show up will prompt a judge to file an immediate deportation order and rule you inadmissible to enter the United States in the future, regardless of any excuse for your absence or the agenda of the missed hearing. It is extremely difficult and often impossible to overcome inadmissibility stemming from a missed court appearance.
- Past deportations. If you have ever been deported in the past as a result of removal proceedings, you are automatically inadmissible for a fixed duration as a sort of deterrence. However, you may still be able to request permission to apply for forms of legal immigration through Form I-212.
- Past instances of immigration fraud or willful misrepresentation. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes fraudulent behavior extremely seriously, especially in information provided on applications, evidence, and other immigration documents. Should officers of the agency discover you engaged in fraudulent behavior at any time during the immigration process, before or after you have been admitted to the country, you will likely be targeted for removal and will also be rendered inadmissible. You may be able to circumvent inadmissibility despite past fraudulent behavior.
- Concerns about threats to public or national security. If the United States has reason to believe you are involved with espionage, a terrorist or Nazi group, or any other form of totalitarian organization that poses a threat to the country, you will be considered inadmissible. It is nearly impossible to navigate past security concerns, as the national security provision applies to just about every type of legal immigration.
- Past criminal charges and convictions. Any criminal history can play a significant role in your admissibility to the country. The nature, severity, and quantity of the crimes tends to determine if inadmissibility can be overcome. Violent crimes and those involving fraud tend to be permanently disqualifying, but other types of serious crimes, including some crimes of moral turpitude, can potentially be bypassed via waivers.
- Disqualifying level of unlawful presence. You accumulate unlawful presence for every day you spend in the United States without a valid form of status, including a visa. If you entered the country on a visa and it expired, for example, you begin accruing unlawful presence from the date of expiration if you do not leave the country. If you gain too much unlawful presence, you automatically become inadmissible for a lengthy period of time, though waivers can potentially overcome this difficulty.
- Failure to pass the public charge test. Under new Trump administration rules, USCIS has dramatically expanded the role “public charge” requirements play in legal immigration. In order to clear the test, your household’s income must meet or exceed 125% of the federal poverty line. You also must not utilize (or have previously utilized) one of several government benefit programs for a period of 12 months or more in a 36 month period. These new requirements end up disqualifying many more financially vulnerable immigration candidates, and unfortunately, waivers of inadmissibility cannot currently bypass them.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why USCIS might decide you are inadmissible to enter the United States. This list is also not exhaustive, and the agency might decide to render you inadmissible due to one of several miscellaneous factors. Our Greer immigration waivers attorneys can help determine if waivers of inadmissibility can potentially help you pursue legal immigration solutions.
Remember, though, that not all types of inadmissibility can be overcome through waivers. Inadmissibility on the grounds of violent or drug-related crimes can be extremely difficult to surmount. It is also difficult to facilitate future legal immigration if you have previously unlawfully entered the country. We will always do everything possible to fight for our clients, but we will also be realistic with the obstacles you may face.
Waivers for Fraud or Willful Misrepresentation
If you ever deliberately misrepresent facts or lie to USCIS, whether verbally, in an application document, piece of submitted evidence, you have committed immigration fraud, which the agency takes gravely seriously. Some immigrants may attempt to fudge or omit a key fact to improve their odds of receiving an immigration benefits, but these sort of actions can render you inadmissible to the United States, the extent of which depends on the nature of the fraud. Entering the country unlawfully is in itself considered immigration fraud and, when discovered, will result in future inadmissibility.
Waivers can potentially allow you to sidestep inadmissibility on the grounds of fraud or willful misrepresentation. Eligibility will in part be based on the type and severity of the fraudulent action. To successfully obtain a waiver, you will have to prove your parent, fiancé, or spouse – who must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident – would experience extreme hardship if you are not extended relief. Simply having a spouse, fiancé, or parent in the country is not enough; your absence must trigger some unavoidable burden.
Waivers for Past Criminal Convictions
As we mentioned above, waivers will likely not be able to help those who were convicted of serious violent or drug-related crimes. Persons convicted of other types of crimes may be able to overcome inadmissibility depending on their recency and severity.
Waivers may be help persons ruled inadmissible as a result of:
- A one-time possession of marijuana of 30 grams or less
- Non-violent crimes of moral turpitude
- Crimes in which you were granted immunity in a plea bargain
- Commercialized vice crimes
- Any combination of non-violent crime convictions where the cumulative sentence exceeds 5 years of prison time
To obtain a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome past criminal convictions, you will need to demonstrate one of two things. You can prove your fiancé, spouse, or parent – who, like with other waivers, must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident – will suffer extreme hardship if you are not readmitted. Alternatively, if your crimes occurred more than 15 years ago, you can argue you have been successfully rehabilitated and pose no threat to society.
Waivers for Unlawful Presence
If you have spent too much time in the United States without a valid form of status, you can be barred from reentering the country should you leave and attempt to reenter. If you accumulate between 180 days and 1 year of unlawful presence, you will become automatically inadmissible to the country for 3 years. If you amass more than 1 year of unlawful presence, you will be barred for 10 years.
The Waivers of Grounds of Admissibility, or Form I-601, can in some cases help immigrants bypass inadmissibility as a result of too much unlawful presence. In order to qualify, you must prove a parent, fiancé, or spouse – who must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident – will endure extreme hardship if you continue to be barred from reentering the country.
This waver can be especially useful in situations where an individual with unlawful presence has otherwise completed the steps to legally immigrate but must leave the country and return to complete the process. This can “trap” them, as they will be almost certainly stopped from entering the U.S. due to unlawful presence, keeping them from obtaining their visa. The waiver of inadmissibility granted by Form I-601 overcomes this challenge.
Get Help with Waivers of Inadmissibility
Understanding whether your situation can be helped through a waiver of inadmissibility can be extremely confusing and frustrating. Our Greer immigration lawyers at Colón Law Firm can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your inadmissibility and help you understand what legal solutions may be available to you. Our firm is client-centered and results-driven, meaning we will do whatever it takes to help you overcome obstacles imperiling your immigration journey.