Getting an inadmissibility waiver means to obtain forgiveness for having committed a fault called grounds of inadmissibility or grounds of deportability.
To know if you need a waiver of inadmissibility to successfully apply for a visa, become a legal permanent resident, or maintain your legal status as permanent resident, you need to understand the concept of admission in the context of immigration law.
The immigration law divides people into two groups: the ones that are seeking legal admission into the United States and the ones that have already been legally admitted into the United States.
The first group, the ones seeking admission into the United States, must show that they are admissible into the United States. The second group, the ones who have already been admitted into the United States, must be careful not to commit a fault called deportability grounds in the Immigration Law. Learn more about the grounds of deportability.
The Immigration Law says that admission means the lawful entry of a foreign person into the United States after an immigration officer had an opportunity to inspect that person and gave permission to enter the United States.
When a person applies for a visa, applies for permanent residence or shows up at a port of entry of the United States (international bridge, airport or seaport) with the intention of entering the United States, that person is considered an applicant for admission.
If at the time of applying for admission into the United States, the applicant person has committed a ground (fault) of inadmissibility, the immigration officer must deny the person’s visa application, permanent residence or physical entry into the United States, unless the person applying for a visa, permanent residence or legal entry into the United States applies for a waiver of inadmissibility.
When Immigration grants (approves) a waiver of inadmissibility, the applicant for admission can successfully apply for a visa, permanent residence or legal entry into the United States as if the inadmissibility ground had never occurred, because the waiver means forgiveness for having committed the inadmissibility ground.
Below are the most serious and common grounds of inadmissibility. Click on each one to learn more about the specific ground and to know if there is a waiver available for them.
There are more inadmissibility grounds in the immigration law, however the ones in the list above are the most common that visa, permanent residence and legal entry applicants face after having committed an immigration fault.
If there is a waiver available for an inadmissibility ground on the list, and what does the applicant must do to get the immigration officer grant the inadmissibility waiver, will depend in part of the type of immigration benefit that person is seeking.
There are more waivers of inadmissibility available if the person wants to apply for a non-immigrant visa than there are inadmissibility waivers available if the person wants to apply for legal permanent residence.
The requirements for inadmissibility waivers of non-immigrant visas and for inadmissibility waivers of legal permanent residence are also different.