If you are not eligible to enter the U.S. or obtain a green card for some reason, don’t lose heart – you might be able to apply for a waiver! There are many different types of waivers depending on your reasons for being inadmissible and goal to remain in the U.S. temporarily or permanently. Here are some examples:
- Catch-all waiver (INA § 212(d)(3)): this waiver can only be used for non-immigrant entries, and it can waive almost any ground of inadmissibility.
- Stateside Waiver (I-601A): this is one of the most common waivers. You must be in the U.S., applying for an immigrant visa, and the only reason you are ineligible for an immigrant visa is because you entered the U.S. illegally and/or have remained in the U.S. illegally more than 180 days. You need to show extreme hardship on a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.
- Criminal waiver (INA § 212(h)): inadmissibility for certain crimes (including a single offense for possession of a small amount of marijuana) can be waived. Generally, you must show extreme hardship on a U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent, spouse and/or child—however, there are some exceptions for offenses older than 15 years.
- Misrepresentation waiver (INA § 212(i)): if you are seeking a green card but ever lied or omitted key facts for an immigration benefit or presented false documents to enter the U.S. or obtain eligibility for a benefit, you might need this waiver. You have to show extreme hardship on a U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
- Removal order waiver (INA § 212(a)(9)(A)/(C)): if you left the U.S. after being ordered removed/deported, you may need special permission to re-enter the U.S.
- Medical waivers: if you are inadmissible for a health-related ground, including mental health or substance use issues, you might be eligible for a waiver. Availability of these waivers is very circumstance-specific.
- Waiver of the naturalization Civics and/or English Exam (N-648): applicants for U.S. citizenship who cannot pass the English and/or Civics exams because of a medical condition may be eligible to waive the requirements.
There are several other waivers available for other grounds of inadmissibility, depending on the situation.