Cleveland, Ohio Immigration Waiver Law Firm

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, the government can waive many of these violations.  These “waivers” are complicated.  They usually 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.  Hire a waiver lawyer who understands your family’s situation and who understands the importance of keeping the family together.   We get this.  Schedule an appointment to speak with an experienced waiver attorney today — please email us or call us at 216-970-7102.

Unlawful Presence Waivers

When a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen, he or she becomes eligible for a visa petition.  The visa petition is only the first step to getting a green card.  If the foreign national entered the United States without permission, then that path to the green card becomes more difficult.  He or she must leave the United States, apply for a visa abroad, and reenter on that new status.

Departing the U.S. after having been unlawfully present usually triggers a “bar” to reentering.  If you unlawfully live in the United States for more than 180 days but less than one year and depart, the government bars you from the U.S. for three years.  If you reside in the United States unlawfully for more than one year and depart, the government bars you from the U.S. for ten years.  These bars are commonly referred to as the three- and ten-year bars.

You can apply to “waive” these bars and reenter the United States with a green card.  To qualify for the waiver you must have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.  You must show that relative will suffer “extreme hardship” if you cannot return to the United States.  This is commonly referred to as a “hardship waiver” or an “I-601 waiver.”   Sometimes people qualify for this waiver as a “provisional I-601A 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.

I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

For many years, the unlawful presence waivers could only be requested at a U.S. consulate abroad.  If someone in the United States wanted to apply to reenter the U.S., then they would have to depart the United States and file both the visa application and waiver application while abroad.  The wait time could be months or years and uncertainty about the decision on the applications naturally followed.

A couple of years ago USCIS began a new process that allows immediate relatives subject to the unlawful presence bar to apply for a provisional waiver while living in the U.S.  If USCIS granted their waiver application, then they’d depart the U.S. and process through the consulate.  This cut down the time outside the U.S. to between a few days or weeks rather than months and years. This process is the I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.

***Update to the I-601A Process***  — During the last few months of the Obama Administration, the government issued new rules and regulations regarding the I-601A process.  See our blog post on the I-601A updates.

This new process excites us primarily because it keeps families together rather than tearing them apart.  If you believe you or a loved one may qualify for a waiver, you must hire an immigration waiver attorney who understands your family’s concerns.  To learn whether you or your loved one qualifies for a waiver, please email or call us at 216-970-7102 to schedule a case assessment with an immigration attorney with extensive waiver experience.

Waiver of Certain Criminal Activity – The 212(h) Waiver

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:

  • Prostitution;
  • 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 presenting a 212(h) waiver 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.  The law permits a waiver for battered spouses and children seeking refuge from their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident abuser.  Sometimes DHS overreaches in the analysis of whether an alien needs a waiver.  We see this type of situation often.  We argue the conviction does not trigger inadmissibility and also submit a thoroughly prepared waiver with appropriate supporting documentation.

If the government denied you admission or put you into removal proceedings for a criminal conviction, you might be eligible for a 212(h) waiver.  To learn more, call us at 216-970-7102 to schedule a case assessment with an attorney.

Waiver of Material Misrepresentations or Fraud – The 212(i) Waiver

The U.S. immigration law bars entry or admission to those who lie or omit important information.  Not all lies or omissions, however, trigger this bar. The law allows for a waiver of this “material misrepresentation” or “fraud” bar for certain individuals.  The applicant must have a qualifying relative.  For this waiver, a qualifying relative is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.  Children are not qualifying relatives for this waiver.

The applicant must show the qualifying relative will suffer “extreme hardship” if the applicant is not allowed to enter or stay.  If you or a loved one has lied to the government, you must consult with an immigration law firm.  To learn more about lies and omissions call us at 216-970-7102.  To learn about whether you or your loved one qualifies for a waiver, please call us at 216-970-7102.  We’ll schedule you a case assessment with an experienced Cleveland immigration lawyer.

Fraud and material misrepresentation deportation and visa application cases split families up on a daily basis.  Our goal at Hammond Law Group, LLC, is to keep the backbone of America (the family unit) intact. Preparing these waivers takes time and careful consideration of many factors.  We work diligently with our clients to keep their families together by understanding their needs and concerns.  To schedule an appointment with an experienced immigration waiver lawyer contact us by email or call us at 216-970-7102.

Non-Immigrant Waiver – The 212(d) Waiver

All entrants, temporary or permanent residents must be admissible to the U.S.  If the government finds the non-immigrant (or temporary worker or student or tourist) inadmissible for some violation, the person might apply for a waiver.   The law (INA § 212(d)(3)) permits non-immigrants to overcome most grounds of inadmissibility.  The government considers the following factors when deciding this type of waiver.

(1) the risk of harm to society if the foreign national is admitted;

(2) the seriousness of the foreign national’s prior immigration or criminal violations (if any); and

(3) the foreign national’s reasons for entering the United States.

Similar to other immigration-based waivers, there is also a matter of discretion that is exercised in determining whether to grant a waiver.  See Matter of Hranka, 16 I&N Dec. 491 (BIA 1978).  There is no hardship requirement.

If you are applying to enter the United States on a temporary basis but the government considers you inadmissible, then it is time to consult with an experienced immigration waiver lawyer.  We can help you through the 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver process.  Even if your ultimate goal is to eventually permanently reside in the United States, you might take advantage of this non-immigrant visa waiver now.  For example, if you have a qualifying relative but you are unable to meet the heightened “exceptional and unusual hardship” standard for a 212(h) waiver, you may choose to maintain non-immigrant status and wait 15 years to file for an immigrant waiver where there is no longer a hardship requirement.  Our Firm understands the procedural and substantive rules of filing for these waivers.  Contact us today.  Together, we will determine the best legal strategy for you to enter the United States lawfully.