Waivers for Immigration Law Violations
Let’s be realistic. No one is perfect. That is why Congress created waivers for certain violations of U.S. immigration laws. Some violations can “bar” people from obtaining immigration status. Some violations can also make people removable or deportable. However, many of these violations can be waived by the government. These “waivers” can be complicated and require large amounts of careful preparation and documentation. These waivers usually hinge on circumstances and hardships family members would face without the foreign national in the United States. Hiring an attorney who understands your family's situation and the importance of keeping it together is key to a successful waiver. Set up an appointment to speak with an experienced waiver attorney today— please email or call us at (866) 448-2994.
Unlawful Presence Waiver
When a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen, he may then become eligible for permanent residency (get his or her “green card”). If the foreign national entered the United States without permission, then that path to permanent residency is more difficult. He must leave the United States, apply for a visa abroad, and reenter on that new visa. Leaving, however, may trigger a “bar” to reentering if the person previously stayed in the United States without permission. If you reside in the United States unlawfully for more than 180 days but less than one year, then you may be barred from returning for three years. If you reside in the United States unlawfully for more than one year, then you may be barred from returning for ten years. These are known as the three- and ten-year bars.
You can apply to “waive” these bars and reenter the United States as a lawful permanent resident if you have a “qualifying relative” (a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent) who will suffer “extreme hardship” if you cannot return to the United States (sometimes this is referred to as a “hardship waiver” or “601 waiver”). An approval waives the three- or ten-year bar and allows the individual to return to the United States within a few days. Proving that the qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship however, is often difficult.
**Update – New and Faster Waiver Process** For many years, the unlawful presence waivers could only be requested at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. If someone in the United States wants to apply to reenter, they would have to leave the United States and wait for the visa and waiver to be approved before returning. This process would often forces the family member to wait outside the United States for months or years while waiting for a decision on the waiver. Last year, USCIS announced a new process that allows people subject to the unlawful presence bar to apply for a waiver and obtain a decision from the government before leaving the United States. These people, once the waiver is granted, will only have to wait abroad for the visa decision, which takes a few days or weeks (rather than years). This new process is the I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.
We are excited about this process primarily because it will keep families together rather than tearing them apart. If you believe you or a loved one may qualify for a waiver, hiring an attorney who understands your family's concerns is key to preparing a successful application. To learn whether you or your loved one qualifies for a waiver, please email or call us at (866)448-2994 to schedule a case assessment with an immigration attorney with extensive waiver experience.
Waiver of Certain Criminal Activity
Certain criminal convictions often keep people from staying in the United States lawfully. This criminal “bar” to status may be waived for people convicted of certain crimes, including:
- Simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana;
- Two or more crimes with sentences that add up to more than five years imprisonment; and
- Crimes involving “moral turpitude” (including theft, fraud, and harm).
Individuals facing this bar may waive it by showing that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child will suffer extreme hardship if they cannot stay in the United States. This may also be waived for battered spouses and children seeking refuge from their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident abuser. Often the bar is over used and does not apply to the individual's conviction. Second, if it does, there may be a waiver available. If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime listed above, a waiver may be available which would allow that person to stay in the United States. To learn whether you or your loved one qualifies for a waiver, please email or call us at (866)448-2994 to schedule a case assessment with an immigration attorney with extensive waiver experience.
Waiver of Material Misrepresentations (Lies or Omissions)
Under U.S. immigration law, those who lie or omit important information are barred from obtaining lawful status. Not all lies or omissions, however, trigger this bar. The law also allows for a waiver of this “material misrepresentation bar” for individuals who can show that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if the foreign national is not allowed to enter or stay in the United States. If you or a loved one has lied to the government, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine the potential consequences. To learn more about lies and omissions and whether you or your loved one qualifies for a waiver, please email or call us at (866)448-2994 to schedule a case assessment with an experienced immigration attorney.
Schedule a Case Assessment – Cleveland, OH or Charlotte, NC
Families are split up by removal and deportation daily. Our goal at Philip Eichorn Co., LPA, is to keep the backbone of America in tact; the family unit. We work diligently with our clients to keep their families together by understanding their needs and concerns. To speak with an experienced immigration attorney with a record of waiver approvals, please either email or call us at (866)448-2994 to schedule a case assessment.