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The purpose of this post is to explain how to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility and the different types of US immigration waivers available. You will also learn how this immigration relief can benefit an alien qualified as inadmissible. 


The article addresses how to prepare a waiver of inadmissibility for immigration to the US. Applying to one or other waiver depends on the cause of the violation. Need help? Don’t worry, the immigration lawyers in Los Angeles at Lluis Law are experts in cases of immigration waivers.

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A 2022 Guide to the waiver of inadmissibility For The United States

There are several types of immigration waivers that aliens may be eligible for. Thanks to a waiver, aliens who are considered inadmissible to the US can access different types of American visasobtain a Green Card or other relief after having committed an immigration crime.

Although there are several types of immigration waivers, the most common are the following three:

how to apply for an immigration waiver of inadmissibility

Immigration Waiver I-601

The I-601 waiver (also known as the I-601 waiver of inadmissibility) is used for crimes committed inside or outside the United States.

 This waiver exempts the deportations of spouses, fiancés and children of citizens or lawful permanent residents. However, it must be shown that the alien would suffer extreme hardship if not allowed to remain in the US.

Immigration Waiver I-601A

The I-601A immigration waiver of inadmissibility is used when aliens:

  • Have entered the United States illegally;
  • Entered on a nonimmigrant visa and have overstayed;
  • Will marry an individual who is not a US citizen or resident.
unlawful presence in the U.S.

If they do not apply for this waiver, aliens will have to face the consequences of unlawful presence in the US. You want to learn how to change of status from visitor visa to Green Card? Check out blog.

Immigration Waiver I-212

The I-212 immigration waiver is used when aliens have been deported from the United States and have the 3 and 10 year bars in force. It is known as “permission to reapply”.

This relief is crucial as it can lead to a cancellation of removal. Our immigration lawyers specializing in deportation will be able to help you during these removal cases.

The I-212 waiver also has several subcategories:

Section 212(D)(3): Nonimmigrant Waiver Of Inadmissibility

This waiver allows a U.S. Attorney General to waive most cases of inadmissibility for aliens seeking temporary entry into the U.S. For example, individuals seeking a B-1 business visa, one of tourist or an H-1B visa.

Although this exemption is broad, it is not available for certain cases of inadmissibility. These can be terrorism, espionage, participation in genocide, Nazi persecution and causes of foreign policy among others.

Section 212(I): Fraud And Misrepresentation

Aliens may use this fraud or misrepresentation waiver as a means of being admitted as an immigrant. 

  • To be eligible for this exemption, the alien requesting it must be the spouse or child of a US citizen or resident; 
  • In addition, you must show that if the applicant is denied admission, it would result in extreme hardship for the qualifying relative.

Section 212(A)(1): Inadmissibility, Health-Related Grounds

This exemption is intended for aliens who are inadmissible in relation to health causes, whether due to a communicable disease, certain mental or physical conditions. It is also for those who do not have the necessary vaccinations.

Section 212(H): Inadmissibility For Criminal Acts

This waiver can help aliens get or keep a Green Card if they have a criminal conviction, either:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude; 
  • Convictions for 2 or more crimes in which the total sentence was 5 years or more:
  • Prostitution or procuring prostitutes;
  • A single offense for possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less.

If you have been charged with a crime of prostitution in California, our Los Angeles criminal lawyers can help you. 

Foreign nationals may be eligible for one of the following 3 subtypes of the 212h waiver:

  1. 15-Year 212h waiversIt must be shown that the inadmissibility activities occurred more than 15 years ago, that being admitted to the US would not affect national security, and that they have been rehabilitated;
  2. 212h waiver for extreme hardship. If inadmissible for any qualifying criminal conduct, applicants may be eligible for this exemption if they demonstrate that his relative would suffer extreme hardship;
  3. 212h waiver for battered spouse. For inadmissible Green Card applicants filing a petition for abuse by a spouse or US resident.

Differences between the I-601 And the I-601A waiver of inadmissibility

  • The I-601A waiver allows you to avoid the effects of applying the 3 and 10 year inadmissibility bar. Through this waiver, immediate family members without papers of a citizen or resident can apply for a Green Card. 
  • The I-601A waiver of inadmissibility is more limited in scope than the I-601, as it only waives the applicant’s unlawful presence in the US. 
    • It is generally used by individuals planning to process their permanent residence outside the US through consular processing
    • These are individuals who have lived in the country without documents for more than a year and need to apply for an immigration waiver before leaving.
  • The good thing about this waiver is that the immigrants know in advance if their waiver was approved or not. 

For both types of immigration waivers, evidence is required to show that the applicant’s deportation will cause “extreme hardship” for one of their family members.

What Grounds Of Inadmissibility Can Be Waived?

A frequently asked question in our office is: What makes a person inadmissible to the US? The general categories of inadmissibility include various grounds. Among these we find crime, national security, health reasons, fraud, false statements, illegal presence and others. 

Next, we will show three common grounds of inadmissibility:

crimes for immigration waivers

Unlawful Presence In The US

Aliens who accrue unlawful presence in the US and are subject to the 3 or 10 year bars may be able to avoid this penalty through the I-601A waiver. 

A waiver is usually requested at a US visa interview at a US consulate abroad.

Since you are interested in the waiver of inadmissibility, you may want to review our guide on how to legally enter the United States.

Immigration Fraud Or Misrepresentation

Aliens who obtained an immigration benefit through fraud or misrepresentation may be eligible to apply for a waiver. However, they will not be eligible if they falsely claimed to be US citizens. 

Certain Criminal Grounds Of Inadmissibility

Criminal records leads to inadmissibility to the US. However, through section 212(h) of the INA, they can apply for a waiver. If the criminal ground of inadmissibility allows for a waiver request, aliens may be eligible in the following cases:

  • Having a US citizen or permanent resident spouse, fiancé(e), child, parent who will experience extreme hardship if denied admission;
  • More than 15 years have passed since the crime was committed and you applied for admission to the US.

What Things Does Immigration Not Waive?

The three types of immigration pardons that we have seen allow an alien to recover certain immigration benefits but will not waive the following crimes:

These are just some of the crimes that cannot be waiver. However, you can obtain detailed information in our blogs on “Deportable offenses” and “ Criminal bars to citizenship”.

t visa requirements

Victims of human trafficking might be interested in the T visa requirements. In our blog you will find a detailed article.

Can You Apply for a Waiver While being in The United States?

Most immigrants can apply for a waiver within the United States. Also, depending on the waiver, leaving the United States could be a mistake for your case.

How To apply for a waiver of inadmissibility In 2022

Before applying for an immigration waiver, you must determine which one you need. The types of waivers vary and depending on your case, you will have to choose one or the other. 

Having our immigration lawyer by your side in these cases can help you. Subsequently, you must follow the next steps in order to apply for a waiver in the US:

Immigration Waiver Requirements

  1. Complete the respective I-601I-601A or I-212 waiver form. Subsequently, send it to USCIS;
  2. Wait for USCIS approval of the waiver;
  3. If you apply for form I-601A, you must leave the United States once the approved waiver is obtained;
  4. Schedule an appointment for the interview with an official in charge (if you have left the country, the interview must be with an official of the US embassy or consulate);
  5. Wait the indicated time until receiving the notification to re-enter the United States again.

Note: It is recommended that you additionally complete Form G-1145 to receive electronic notifications regarding approved immigration waivers.

Where To Submit An Application For The Different Types Of Immigration Waivers?

The addresses depend on the type of waiver requested. Next, we will indicate the locations where they must be submitted.

types of immigration waivers for the united states

Applications Under The VAWA Law:

USCIS Vermont Service Center

38 River Road

Essex Junction, VT 05479-0001

In our article on the VAWA visa you can read detailed information about this US visa.

Applications For Immigrant Or Nonimmigrant Visas (“K” Or “V” Visas):

USCIS

Attn: I-601 Foreign Filers

PO Box 21600

Phoenix, AZ 85036-1600

Requests For Filings Of Form I-485

Applicants who have filed Form I-601 along with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, must follow the instructions for Form I-485. If the form is pending, it must be verified if it begins with “MSC” or “IOE” and does not have a 3-letter code at the beginning of the receipt number, then it must be sent to: 

By USPS:

USCIS

Attn: AOS

PO Box 805887

Chicago, IL 60680

By FedEx, UPS and DHL:

USCIS

Attn: AOS (Box 805887)

131 S. Dearborn-3rd Floor

Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Applications With A Pending Form I-485

If Form I-601 was filed but Form I-485 is still pending, check to see if Form I-485 begins with “EAC”, “SRC” or “WAC”, then send to:

USCIS

Attn: NFB

PO Box 660867

Dallas, TX 75266-0867

It is recommended that before filing a Form I-601, all applicant information sections are complete:

  • Surname;
  • Date of birth;
  • Mailing address;
  • Information about the applicant.

If the form is not signed, the request may be denied. For Form I-212 filings, visit the addresses established by USCIS.

How Much Does A waiver of inadmissibility Cost In 2022

The cost to apply for an immigration waiver can vary, since it depends on the type of waiver. The most common costs are:

  • $930 for the I-601 waiver: This can take between 12 to 16 months approximately.
  • $715 for the I-601A waiver: Your time can range from approximately 6 to 12 months.
  • $930 for the I-212 waiver: This waiver usually takes about 6 months.

Generally, these fees can be paid by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. The same way:

  • Applications may be paid by credit card using Form G-1450, Credit Card Transaction Authorization. 
    • If payment is made by check, it must be made payable to the “US Department of Homeland Security”.

Mistakes To Avoid When Requesting A waiver of Inadmissibility

Before applying for an immigration pardon to the United States, you must take into account certain mistakes to avoid:

Failure To Comply With The Requirements For The Process

Among the basic requirements to apply for waivers for unlawful presence, is to have a “qualifying relative”. This is a relative that allows you to qualify, whether it’s a spouse, parent, citizen, or lawful permanent resident. 

If you are not related to a US citizen, you cannot qualify for the waiver.

Leaving The United States When It Is Not Necessary To Do So

This is a very common mistake, as aliens think they have to do it to get a waiver. However, it is one of the offenses to avoid when applying for a wauver, since it can activate the 3 and 10 year bars. This can happen in two situations:

  1. When they have resided in the US illegally for more than the time allowed or for more than 6 months;
  2. When they have left the US after living illegally. This means that if you do not leave the country, the punishment will not be activated.

The confusion here is that many immigrants have to leave the US to fix their legal status by completing the process through consular processing. In other words, they must appear before a consulate in their country of origin for the interview, where on many occasions, they are denied residency due to having an illegal presence in their records.

Leaving the US without proper advice can be a serious mistake. This is because individuals can adjust status without leaving the country. 

Note: It should be noted that to carry out the adjustment of status process within the US, it is necessary for the alien to travel to their country of origin and then legally enter the United States. 

There Is No Evidence Of Extreme hardship

Extreme hardship is evidenced directly by a US citizen or resident family member and not by the immigrant requesting the waiver. Similarly, citizen or permanent resident children cannot prove them either, but they can add arguments. 

Thinking That The 3 And 10 Year bars Is A Permanent Ban

Some foreigners think that the 3 and 10 year bars is a permanent ban, but it is not. 

  • Individuals who have this punishment will not be able to enter the US for the indicated time, but once it is over, they will be able to re-enter.
  • However, if you have a permanent ban, you will not be able to re-enter the United States. 

If aliens re-enter the US after being deported or receiving a 3-year and 10-year sentence, such an act will be considered a crime. You can get more information in our article “Illegal reentry after deportation

Not Applying For A Provisional Waiver 

Individuals who are undocumented and have immediate US family members may qualify for an I-601A waiver within the US. However, they must wait for the application to be approved within the country.

To complete this waiver process:

  1. Applicants must leave the US and return to their home country. 
  2. Subsequently, they must obtain a Green Card to enter the US legally. This process is known as a “provisional waiver.”

What Happens Once The Waiver of inadmissibility is Approved?

After the immigration waiver petition is approved, the applicant receives an information packet from the US embassy or consulate.

This usually happens 2-3 days after approval. The package that is sent via DHL contains precise instructions on what to do from now on.

Not Receiving A Response

If the package is not received within 30 days, it is advisable to contact the US consulate. Sometimes the applicant must submit the updated documents again.

Among the required documents are the medical examination and, probably, a new biometric test. As well as the DS-260 form and the I-864 form, affidavit of financial support.

How To Write A Pardon letter for Immigration

pardon letter for immigration

Next, we will explain how to make a waiver letter for immigration. 

  • Usually these letters will be read by an immigration judge. 
  • The purpose of the letter varies depending on what is being sought. For example, a release on immigration bail bonds or a Green Card in removal proceedings.

Letter Of Support For Bail Purposes

When an alien is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the individual may request a bond to be released from detention. To do this, the immigration judge will examine certain elements, such as the individual’s ties to the community or whether they have a viable form of immigration relief (such as political asylum in the US or refugee status). 

This is where the letter comes in, which must:

  • Be directed to the “Honorable Immigration Judge”;
  • Submit immigration status and personal address;
  • Indicate the relationship with the affected alien and how long they have known each other;
  • Describe the type of individual you are and the activities you do together;
  • Indicate if the individual is a danger to others;
  • Describe the negative effects or difficulties that remaining in detention would have;
  • Describe why the individual is expected to return to immigration court in the future;
  • Have a final sentence that states the following: “I swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the facts stated above are true and correct to the best of my knowledge”;
  • Remember to sign the letter.

The letter can be written in any language. However, it must be submitted in English, so it will need to be translated. 

Our immigration attorneys will represent you in Los Angeles immigration court being with you throughout this process.

Other Letters Of Support

The letter writer must describe in detail the hardships that the applicant’s US citizens or residents may experience if the aid is not granted. The following should be considered:

  • For non-permanent resident cancellation of removal, qualifying relatives include a US citizen, permanent resident spouse, parent, or child;
  • For the family unit exemption, qualifying relatives are only spouses or citizens or permanent residents. Children are not considered qualifying relatives for the waiver.

How Do I Fill Out My Spouse’s Extreme Suffering Letter?

The “extreme hardship” must be exposed and demonstrated to the immigration authorities. It is not enough to submit a simple letter of pardon to immigration, commonly called letter of hardship for immigration. Therefore, you should consider that:

  • The immigration waiver letter is not just any makeshift document as it must be convincing enough. To prevent this type of pardon to return to the US from being denied, it is necessary to seek professional help;
  • The letter of extreme suffering is usually written by a doctor or a psychologist. It is also advisable to have the help of an expert immigration lawyer to coordinate all the work;
  • The lawyer advises you on how to write and submit a waiver letter for immigration in English correctly. Lawyers who are experts in immigration waiver cases, such as those at Lluis Law, have dozens of examples of extreme hardship letters for immigration;
  • In the letter of extreme suffering, the lawyer advises the client on how to assemble the medical or psychological data with the legal justification for the request. So when immigration officials read the letter, they will be convinced and approve the petition.

Frequently Asked Questions About the waiver of inadmissibility

What Immigration Waiver Is Used For The Tourist Visa?

The I-601A immigration waiver is the best one for those individuals who have entered on a tourist visa to the United States and have overstayed their time.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Waiver Of Inadmissibility?

Currently, the application process for one type of immigration waiver takes approximately 8 to 24 months.

When is an Immigration Waiver Requested?

An immigration waiver must be applied for when you are in the US and seeking reconsideration for having committed an immigration violation. If you receive the pardon, you can obtain US immigration benefits again.

Who Qualifies for a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

Depending on the type of immigration waiver, the foreigner may or may not be eligible. For example, the I-601A waiver is only available to family members of US citizens and residents. At this point, it is important to consult with our immigration attorney to find out the possibilities of qualifying for a waiver.

Immigration Lawyers In Los Angeles To Request The Different Types Of Immigration Waivers

If you are about to apply for an immigration waiver to the United States or believe you qualify for one of the different types of immigration waivers, you should have an immigration attorney to help you through this process. The lawyers at Lluis Law have more than 50 years of combined experience in these cases.


We receive many inquiries about how to process an immigration waiver from Mexico and other countries as well as from the different states of the country.

We hope that this complete guide is useful and do not hesitate to contact us to request our legal services.

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Tell Us Your Case