Waivers (US Inadmissibility) in the USA

Introduction to Waivers and Inadmissibility

In the United States, the concept of waivers is crucial when dealing with cases of inadmissibility. Inadmissibility refers to the legal grounds that can prevent individuals from entering or remaining in the country. Waivers, in this context, are mechanisms that allow certain individuals who are otherwise inadmissible to be granted entry or permission to stay temporarily.

Common Grounds of Inadmissibility

Several factors can render an individual inadmissible to the United States. These include, but are not limited to:

Criminal History

Individuals with certain criminal convictions, drug offenses, or involvement in activities deemed harmful to society may be deemed inadmissible.

Health-Related Grounds

Medical conditions that pose a threat to public health, such as communicable diseases, can lead to inadmissibility.

Immigration Violations

Previous violations of immigration laws, such as overstaying a visa, can result in inadmissibility.

Security Concerns

Individuals with ties to terrorism or those who pose a threat to national security can be denied entry.

Public Charge

If an individual is likely to become dependent on government assistance, they might be considered inadmissible on public charge grounds.

Understanding Waivers

A waiver is a discretionary legal remedy that allows certain inadmissible individuals to request an exemption from the grounds of inadmissibility. If granted, a waiver permits the individual to enter or remain in the United States despite their inadmissible status.

Types of Waivers

I-601 Waiver

This waiver is typically used for immigrants applying for family-sponsored visas or seeking adjustment of status. It covers various grounds of inadmissibility, such as health-related issues, criminal history, and immigration violations.

I-601A Provisional Waiver

Specifically designed for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, this waiver is applicable when the individual’s only inadmissibility ground is unlawful presence.

I-212 Waiver

Individuals who have been previously removed from the United States might require this waiver to apply for readmission.

Application Process

The process for obtaining a waiver varies depending on the specific type and circumstances. Generally, it involves:

  1. Filing the appropriate waiver application form.
  2. Submitting required documentation and evidence to support the waiver request.
  3. Attending an interview (if applicable).
  4. Waiting for a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Factors Considered

When reviewing a waiver application, USCIS considers various factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the inadmissibility ground.
  • The reasons for the inadmissibility.
  • The individual’s ties to the U.S. and the potential hardship to qualifying relatives.
  • The individual’s moral character and rehabilitation efforts (if applicable).


Waivers play a crucial role in the U.S. immigration system by offering a pathway for individuals with certain inadmissibility issues to overcome those barriers. Successfully obtaining a waiver requires a thorough understanding of the grounds of inadmissibility, the appropriate waiver type, and a well-prepared application supported by compelling evidence.