Criminal Waiver of Inadmissibility

Have you committed an offense at any time in your life and now you wish to travel to the US?

A Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is an application presented to an embassy officer together with a visa application to request entry into the United States where the applicant is currently deemed inadmissible on one or more grounds.

The most common grounds for inadmissibility are:

  • Prior history of criminal activity;
  • Prior periods of unlawful presence in the US potentially subjecting applicants to a 3 year bar (if overstay was a minimum of six months) or a 10 year bar (if overstay was one year or more) from entering the US.

NNU Immigration are here to help!

With exceptional knowledge and insight into US visa and immigration protocol, we advise non-US nationals on seeking adjustment to their nonimmigrant status through a criminal waiver application.

Each case is unique and often requires a detailed analysis in order to determine the factual basis of inadmissibility, the availability of a waiver, and the likelihood of a successful waiver application.

US immigration policy is undergoing a period of considerable upheaval; we can advise on any changes in US visa rules that may impact the entry routes available to you.

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Do you have a question about a waiver of inadmissibility?

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Criminal Waiver of Inadmissibility FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for criminal waiver?

Except for individuals with inadmissibility findings related to security and other narrow areas, all other individuals barred from the United States can apply for a nonimmigrant waiver of inadmissibility at a US Embassy.

What is the application process?

To apply for criminal waiver of inadmissibility, you must present a thoroughly prepared waiver application together with your nonimmigrant visa application and visa application fee. If the embassy officer determines, after careful questioning, that you should be granted a waiver, the officer makes a recommendation to the Customs and Border Protection Admissibility Review Office (ARO) in the United States. This agency will make a final determination.

What are the criminal grounds for inadmissibility?

There are six basic criminal grounds for inadmissibility:

  1. Crimes involving moral turpitude
  2. Violations of controlled substance laws
  3. Conviction of more than one offense
  4. Drug trafficking
  5. Prostitution and commercialized vice, and
  6. Commission of a serious crime in the US for which the immigrant asserted immunity from prosecution.

For crimes involving ‘moral turpitude’ there is no statutory definition, but typically involve elements of fraud, larceny, or attempt to harm persons or things. These crimes can be classified into three general categories:

  1. Crimes committed against property (for example, arson, blackmail, burglary, larceny, robbery, fraud, false pretences, theft, receiving stolen property);
  2. Crimes committed against governmental authority (for example, bribery, tax evasion, perjury, fraud against government functions); and
  3. Crimes committed against persons, family relationships, and sexual morality (for example, serious assaults, gross indecency, lewdness, kidnapping, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape).

What are the application criteria?

The following factors are considered in granting a nonimmigrant waiver:

  • Risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted.
  • The seriousness of the applicant’s prior immigration law, or criminal law, violations, if any.
  • The nature of the applicant’s reasons for wishing to enter the United States.

It is important to note that even if a waiver is recommended and a visa is ultimately granted, some travellers still face intense scrutiny and at times harsh treatment by Customs and Border Protection when entering the United States.

This type of behaviour cannot be predicted and is entirely discretionary. If unnecessary delays when entering the United States continue to occur even after a visa has been approved by the State Department then you will want to consider whether to file a complaint through the DHS Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP).

How to file a complaint to the DHS Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP)

A DHS TRIP submission can be made if you are facing the following issues:

  • You are always subjected to additional screening when going through an airport security checkpoint.
  • You were denied boarding.
  • You are directed to a ticket counter every time you fly.
  • The airline ticket agent stated that you are on a Federal Government Watch List.
  • You are detained during your travel experience.
  • A ticket agent took your identification and called someone before handing you a boarding pass.
  • You missed your flight while attempting to obtain a boarding pass.
  • You are repeatedly referred for secondary screening when clearing U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • You were denied entry into the United States.

If you have questions regarding the need for a waiver of inadmissibility or a DHS TRIP submission please contact us for a comprehensive review of your circumstances and a detailed discussion about strategy, procedures, timing and costs.


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