Immigration Waiver

New Orleans Immigration Waiver Lawyers

Helping New Orleans and Slidell immigration applications overcome obstacles

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Some immigrants are ineligible to obtain a visa, a green card, an adjustment of status, a non-immigrant visa, or other immigration objectives because of a criminal record, health violations, misrepresentations, or other violations of US immigration laws. The US Department of Homeland Security works to ensure only admissible immigrants can enter and live in the United States. But there may be times when you are eligible for a waiver. Sometimes, they are applied automatically; other times, you must file for the waiver.

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans immigration lawyers understand why you may be inadmissible. We’ll explain what steps you need to request a waiver and the likelihood of success in that request. We’ll help you obtain the proper documentation and evidence to support your waiver request.

What are the different types of possible immigration waivers?

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There are several categories for waivers, and your circumstances can dictate which waiver you may be eligible to receive. What follows is a very high-level overview of the four main types of waivers:

  • Inadmissibility waivers for non-immigrants. This waiver largely applies if you wish to come to the US but there is something in your history that would make you ineligible.
    • Waivers for crimes that occurred 15 or more years ago. Applicants for an immigrant visa, an adjustment of status, or who are in removal proceedings – can request a waiver provided they were not convicted of an aggravated felony after their admission. The applicant must have been living in the US for 7 years. The applicant must verify that the offense is over 15 years old, that no current threat exists, and that the applicant has been rehabilitated.
    • Waivers for moral turpitude crimes. This is another type of hardship waiver request that also has a seven-year residency requirement and a “non-aggravated felony since admission” requirement to help families stay connected.
  • Removal waivers. These waivers may apply to non-immigrants or lawful permanent residents. Humanitarian waivers may apply to non-immigrants or LPRs who are accused of fraud or misrepresentation; there are also waivers to avoid deportation after a criminal conviction.
  • Extreme hardship waivers for family members. Generally, to qualify for this type of waiver, the foreigner must show that he/she is a US citizen’s (or lawful permanent resident’s) spouse or parent – and that denying the waiver would cause the US citizen or LPR extreme hardship. Our New Orleans immigration waivers understand what circumstances the USCIS will likely find persuasive. We help applicants present their strongest case for a waiver.
    • The “3-year bar” and “10-year bar” rules. A non-immigrant who unlawfully resided and/or worked in the US and attempted to reenter the US can be barred from entry for three or 10 years. (Your exact circumstances will dictate whether the “3-year bar” or “10-year bar” rule applies.) This waiver may be granted to a spouse or child of an LPR or US citizen who can prove qualifying hardship.
  • National Interest Waiver. These apply exclusively to individuals seeking employment-based, second preference visas to work in certain professions. The guidance changed in January 2022 for these waivers; you can read more here.

Provisional unlawful presence waivers

According to USCIS, some immigrant visa applicants who are related to US citizens or lawful permanent residents can use Form I-601A to “request a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act section 212 (a)(9)(B), before departing the United States to appear at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an immigrant visa interview.”

This form is to allow the foreigner the opportunity to apply for the immigration waiver while in America – before the foreigner has their interview at a US embassy or consulate. The main purpose is to lessen the amount of time the applicant needs to be out of the United States. The I-601 waiver form “may” also be a possibility for foreigners who are unlawfully in the US for more than 180 days.

Immigration Lawyer

When does USCIS grant waivers to immigrants?

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USCIS

Per the USCIS website, a waiver may be granted to:

  • Promote family unity and provide humanitarian results.
  • Provide relief to refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking and certain criminal acts, and other humanitarian and public interest applicants who seek protection or permanent residency in the United States.
  • Advance the national interest by allowing noncitizens to be admitted to the United States if such admission could benefit the welfare of the country.
  • Ensure public health and safety concerns are met by requiring that applicants satisfy all medical requirements prior to admission or, if admitted, seek any necessary treatment.
  • Weigh public safety and national security concerns against the social and humanitarian benefits of granting admission to a noncitizen.

These factors may be weighed differently depending on the specific waiver the applicant is seeking.

The eligibility for an immigration inadmissibility waiver is generally based on the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) of 1952 and subsequent amendments.

Why would an immigrant, foreign national, or LPR need a waiver?

Applicants may need to request a waiver if they:

  • Were deported or removed from the United States
  • Stayed in the US beyond their expiration date
  • Were charged or convicted of a crime
  • Are ineligibility for citizenship
  • Committed crimes or acts of moral turpitude
  • Committed immigration fraud or misrepresentation
  • Were involved with human trafficking
  • Have certain health-related problems
  • Are a member of a totalitarian party
  • Are subject to a civil penalty in the foreign country
  • Have a likelihood of becoming a public charge
  • Don’t have the proper Department of Labor Certificate
  • Violate any other inadmissibility grounds

Within the various categories of inadmissibility grounds, there are many subcategories.

A quick note about health and vaccine requirements

Applicants who wish to come to the US can be denied on public health grounds. There are two specific reasons given by USCIS:

  • Communicable diseases. “The INA authorizes USCIS to exercise discretion in deciding whether to waive inadmissibility based on a communicable disease of public health significance.” The officer must go through the following steps to adjudicate the waiver application:
    • Determine whether the applicant meets the eligibility requirements of the waiver
    • Consult with CDC
    • Determine whether the waiver is warranted as a matter of discretion
  • Vaccination requirements. The applicant may be eligible for a waiver from the vaccine requirement if:
    • The applicant, by the date of visa or adjustment decision, has received the proper vaccines.
    • The civil surgeon or a “panel physician certifies that such vaccination would not be medically appropriate.”
    • Receiving a certain vaccine “would be contrary to the applicant’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

Generally, waivers are not available for adjustment of status and immigrant visa applicants who are found inadmissible because of drug abuse or drug addiction, but we can talk more about this if you believe it applies to you or your loved one.

What are the waiver eligibility and evidence requirements?

USCIS states that waiver eligibility depends on whether a waiver is available for the specific ground of inadmissibility, the applicant meets the statutory and regulatory requirements for the waiver, and a favorable decision is warranted.

The USCIS officer will review if an inadmissibility ground can be waived, and whether the  applicant meets the waiver requirements. Where there was a prior removal or unlawful reentry after a previous immigration violation, the applicant must also file “an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal (Form I-212), which is also called consent to reapply.”

Our skilled New Orleans immigration waiver lawyers help applicants present evidence that credibly supports the applicant’s claims as strongly as possible. If health issues require a waiver, we’ll work with your doctor to address the health issue. If any new family relationship information is needed (over and above what has already been presented), we’ll work to obtain the necessary marriage, birth, and adoption certificates – and other relevant evidence.

Do you have an immigration lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two office locations in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Speak with our skilled New Orleans immigration waiver lawyers today

We work with anyone who lives in or near New Orleans who has immigration questions of any kind. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we help immigrants who live abroad and immigrants who live in the US who may be disqualified from obtaining a visa, a green card, or other immigration benefits. We’ll explain when and how you can apply for an immigration waiver based on health, overstay, removal proceedings, criminal violations, or other inadmissibility grounds. Please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a respected New Orleans or Slidell immigration lawyer.