Understanding the Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

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The Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is the most important application to family reunification. This article will explain what it is, how it works, and whether it can help you.

What is the Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility?

Someone who is "Inadmissible" will not be allowed to enter or remain the United States - this Status comes from a range of factors such as an overstay or a criminal event. This is also commonly known as a "ban." This ban from entering the United States varies in length depending on what the grounds of inadmissibility actually are. The ban could last just a few years or may be a lifetime ban.

Someone who is banned from entering the United States is inadmissible for a specific reason, and again, these are the grounds of inadmissibility.  The United States provides a response to this ban in select circumstances, through the I-601 application, the "waiver" of grounds of inadmissibility. In legal terminology, a successful waiver application will remove the grounds of inadmissibility; it will remove the ban and permit the applicant to apply for a United States visa.

How does a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility work?

Why is it called The Extreme Hardship Waiver?

Extreme Hardship is the requirement to be successful in overcoming a ban from the United States. The applicant must be able to reach this threshold to prove that they should be allowed to stay in the United States or to re-enter the United States.

Depending on where you search for the application requirements, you may get a quick answer, "just file Form I-601"... but in reality the steps required to be successful are much more tedious. Because the application process is so tedious many people use attorneys to assist them with the process, to help them understand the law, and to make sure that no important details are missed.

Am I eligible to apply for a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility?

This article wont address each and every circumstance which could result in a ban, and what the proper legal response is to each situation, but instead will give you a few questions to consider;

  • What is your Immigration status?
  • Are you currently facing deportation?
  • Are you currently subject to Removal and you want to file a waiver application?
  • Are you currently outside of the United States?
  • Are you aware of your grounds of inadmissibility?
  • Do you have a criminal history?

The first step in overcoming your Grounds of Inadmissibility is to find out whether you are eligible or not, and then to identify and facts which support an Extreme Hardship argument.

This is a federal United States form and one of the most tedious for the legal practitioner and also for the Applicant and their family. It is also one of the most important and potentially beneficial.

From the author: Attorney Gregory P. Sheehan's overview of the Extreme Hardship Waiver
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