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US visa difficulties

Waivers of inadmissibility

US visas can be difficult to obtain for some people, as can entry to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

If you have a criminal record, have previously misrepresented the facts or committed fraud during a visa application, or have prior immigration violations, then you will be considered ‘inadmissible’ and will not be granted a visa on application. In such circumstances a waiver application will be required first.

If you have previously travelled to certain countries – Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen or Cuba – then it is not possible to obtain an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program, and a US visa will be required.

Problems with obtaining a US visa

Our US immigration specialists can help those who have problems getting a US visa through a variety of ‘waivers of inadmissibility’. This means obtaining an official determination by the US government that the otherwise ineligible person can enter the United States.

We can assist with:

  • Waivers of past criminal activity
  • Waivers of fraud (in relation to immigration)
  • Waivers of unlawful presence
  • I-601 Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
  • Medical waiver/ vaccination waiver
  • Those previously denied a US visa or entry to the USA
  • Deportation

FAQs about complex US visa applications

If you have ever been arrested or have a criminal record you will need to plan well ahead for any trip to America. An ESTA may be refused, and you will need to apply for a 212(h) waiver (often called a Hranka waiver) at the Consulate in your country of residence, to obtain a US visa.

Certain crimes, especially those involving intent or recklessness, can cause you to be deemed ‘inadmissible’. You are also likely to be considered be inadmissible if you have convictions for two or more offenses which carried a total sentence of five years or more.

It’s worth remembering that ‘spent’ convictions (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1986) are still viewed as convictions in US immigration law. Also, certain offenses will lead to inadmissibility even if no conviction occurred; a caution for crimes such as prostitution, people trafficking or money laundering would be enough to be found inadmissible.

If you have misled the authorities in previous immigration applications, whether through fraud or misrepresentation (fraud being the more serious, involving intent to deceive), then you will need a 212(i) waiver in order to be eligible for a US visa.

‘Unlawful presence’ is where people have entered the USA without inspection, have overstayed their authorized visa period, or have violated their temporary visa status. It may be possible to obtain a 212(a) waiver of unlawful presence to allow entry into the US.

If you are found ‘inadmissible’ to the US on health grounds, it might be possible to file a waiver application. Waivers can be available for vaccinations – if you have not received the required vaccinations for religious or moral grounds, if they are contraindicated for you, or if there is an availability or timescale barrier – and also for medical conditions such as communicable diseases and physical or mental disorders. This is a complex area and the support of a specialist immigration attorney is invaluable – contact us to find out how we can help.

It might be that you have been deemed inadmissible to the US and ineligible for a visa, you might not qualify for the visa category that you have applied for, or it might be that you did not supply enough information to the consular officer. It’s best to seek out the advice and support of an experienced US immigration attorney to help you ensure your visa application process is as smooth as possible, even if there are complications.

If you have travelled to Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen or Cuba since 1 March 2011, then you cannot apply for an ESTA through the Visa Waiver Program. Instead, you must apply for a US visa through your local US Embassy or Consulate. We can help with this. Please get in touch to find out more.

This will depend on the specifics of your situation; a lot will hinge on the reason for your previous US visa rejection. An initial consultation with a specialist US immigration lawyer will help you to understand the options and the process that could be undertaken to secure a US visa.

This will depend on the reasons for deportation. It’s best to consult a specialist US immigration attorney to find out your specific position and the best strategy for future visa application.

If you have been deported by Expedited Removal (which most often happens through having an invalid visa), then you can file Form-212 to waive the entry ban, if it is still in effect (five, ten, and 20 year bans may apply, or even permanent ones). However, it is possible to ask for an ‘ARIS Waiver Request’ during an application for a US visa, which is not only quicker in terms of processing time, but there is no cost involved, so this option also saves the $930 I-212 filing fee.

Expert advice on US immigration

Contact us today for our advice on US immigration – we aim to be back in touch within one working day.