Waivers

Foreign nationals may be inadmissible to the United States for a multitude of reasons, including health-related grounds, economic grounds, criminal grounds, moral grounds, violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act regarding entry or documentation, fraud or misrepresentations, security and related grounds, and other miscellaneous grounds. Waivers (pardons) of inadmissibility, however, are available to certain individuals based on familial relationships or for specific reasons. These waivers may be obtained in removal proceedings before the Immigration Judge, through the Department of Homeland Security at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or Customs and Border Protection, or through the Department of State at a consulate abroad. They are available, under certain circumstances, to pardon or cure many grounds of inadmissibility, including the following: health-related grounds, certain crimes, including crimes of moral turpitude; fraud or willful misrepresentation; false claims to U.S. citizenship; smuggling; prior removals; unlawful presence; and, foreign residency requirement for J-1 visa holders.

Certain individuals, based on their status, are also eligible to seek waivers for a wide range of inadmissibility grounds. For example, refugees and asylees can seek a waiver for most grounds of inadmissibility with the exception of controlled-substance crimes, security and related grounds, or participation in Nazi persecution, torture or genocide. Individuals who seek relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) are eligible for number of waivers, including to waive the immigration violation of being present without admission or parole and domestic violence grounds under certain circumstances.