Immigration waivers are required when someone is determined to be "inadmissible" under US law. Whether someone is inadmissible depends on whether they fall under one of the many criteria listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212. Determining who is inadmissible and why is a complicated process because there are many grounds, they are all subject to legal interpretation, and they sometimes overlap. One person may have multiple grounds of inadmissibility.
Being considered inadmissible means that a person is not eligible to receive immigrant or non-immigrant status, or to receive visas. The law applying to immigrants and non-immigrants is different. Many people learn that they have this kind of problem following an interview or during a consultation with an attorney. For example, inadmissibility is common where someone entered the US unlawfully or overstayed their status, reentered unlawfully, or committed a crime, among many other factors. An experienced attorney can review these factors quickly.
In many cases, waivers are available. For example, people often need to apply for a waiver if the government is claiming a person lied at some point, or was unlawfully present in the US and then left the country. The different inadmissibility grounds usually have different waivers, making the process much more complicated. The legal standards for approval of a waiver usually involve hardship to US or resident family members, but not all family member relationships are considered.
Waiver applications are usually filed at the time of adjustment of status, following an interview or request for a waiver, prior to leaving the US for an interview abroad, or after being determined to be inadmissible at an interview abroad. They are also available in removal proceedings. Schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney to figure out the best options in a particular case.