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The U.S. government has laws to determine who is admissible and so allowed to enter the country.  These laws fall into several broad categories:
  • Health-related reasons, e.g. the immigrant has tuberculosis or other highly infectious diseases

  • Likely to be a public charge, i.e. depend on public benefits

  • Criminal convictions

  • Security offenses

  • Living unlawfully in the U.S. for more than 180 days

  • Prior removal or deportation orders

  • Re-entering the U.S. illegally after living in the U.S. unlawfully for more than a year

  • Lying to an immigration officer

  • False claims of U.S. citizenship and unlawful voting in U.S. elections

  • Assisting other persons to enter the country illegally

Somebody who violates one or more of these laws will be declared inadmissible to the U.S.

Sometimes, an exception can be made to the law.  Other types of inadmissibility may expire after a specified period of time.  Do be aware that there are no exceptions for certain types of inadmissibility, e.g. almost all drug offenses, claiming to be a U.S. citizen.

There are two types of waivers: the hardship waiver and the permission to re-enter.  Some people have to file both applications.

The Hardship Waiver

The hardship waiver is the request for an exception to a law of inadmissibility.  If the inadmissibility never expires, then approval of a hardship waiver is the only way you can return to the U.S. For an inadmissibility that eventually expires, the hardship waiver   allows you to come back sooner. 

There are two different types of hardship waiver applications.
  • Provisional hardship waiver: Filed before the applicant attends an immigration interview.  The applicant must have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen.  The applicant must be inadmissible only because of living in the U.S. illegally for more than a year.  The applicant also must be going to an immigration interview outside the U.S.

  • Regular hardship waiver: Filed after the applicant attends an immigration interview.  The applicant must have a spouse or parents who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. The immigration interview could be outside the U.S. or in the U.S.

The success of the hardship waiver depends on proving certain qualifying U.S. relatives who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents will suffer extreme hardship if the immigrant is not allowed to enter the country.

Not all U.S. relatives are qualifying relatives.  All the waivers recognize hardship to spouses and parents but only some recognize hardship to children.

Extreme hardship involves the hardship of separation as well as the hardship for the U.S. relative if she/he went to live in the immigrant's home country to avoid the separation.

The Permission to Re-Enter

People who have removal orders and want to come back early and people who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after living in the U.S. illegally  for more than a year require a different type of waiver known as "permission to re-enter." 

The permission to re-enter is similar to the hardship waiver: it requires proving hardship to a qualifying U.S. relative.  It recognizes hardships children as well as spouses and parents.  It also recognizes hardships to the applicant and requires the applicant prove rehabilitation and good moral character.

Those who re-enter the U.S. illegally after ilving in the U.S. unlawfuly for more than a year must wait the full ten years before applying for permission to re-enter.

Those with 10/20 year removal orders can apply for permission to re-enter at any time after leaving the U.S. Many people wrongly believe they must wait for 10 or 20 years to lapse before applying.

Blackwell Immigration Law Group  700 W. Virginia Street, Suite 307, Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53204  414-964-1900

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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