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Applying for a Waiver of Inadmissibility if You Have a Criminal Record

Posted on in Immigration

New Canaan waiver of inadmissibility attorneyIf your application for a U.S. immigration visa has been denied because you have a criminal record, you should consider speaking to an attorney about the possibility of getting a waiver of inadmissibility.

Types of Crimes Eligible for a Waiver of Inadmissibility

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not grant a waiver of inadmissibility to people who have committed very serious crimes, such as human trafficking, terrorist activities, or most drug crimes. However, a waiver may be possible if your criminal record involves:

  • Crimes such as theft, prostitution, or certain immigration law violations.
  • A single conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

In some cases, USCIS may decide that your original visa application was misjudged and that you actually are admissible. Therefore, you do not need a waiver after all. You should actually be deemed admissible if:

  • You committed a single crime when you were under age 18, and that was more than five years ago.
  • You committed a single crime for which the maximum penalty would be less than one year in jail, and, if you were convicted, you were sentenced to a term of no more than six months.

How USCIS Decides Whether to Grant a Waiver of Inadmissibility

You may be granted a waiver if your immigration would be in keeping with certain USCIS goals, such as:

  • Keeping families together.
  • Providing relief to refugees and victims of human trafficking.
  • Benefiting the welfare of the U.S.

Your waiver application must convince USCIS that the social and humanitarian benefits of your immigration significantly outweigh any possible concerns about public safety or national security. 

Elements of a Successful Waiver for Past Crimes

You may be granted a waiver if you can make a strong case to USCIS on grounds such as these:

  • You were deemed inadmissible for a non-violent crime, but it was at least 15 years ago, and you can show proof that you have reformed.
  • You were deemed inadmissible for the crime of prostitution, but you can prove that you have reformed.
  • You are applying for immigration under the Violence Against Women Act.
  • You have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and they would suffer extreme hardship if you are separated.
  • You were deemed inadmissible for a violent crime, but your case involves extraordinary circumstances (e.g., natural security or foreign policy interests), or denial would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.

As proof that you have reformed your life, you may submit affidavits from family members, friends, employers, or other responsible community representatives. Other forms of evidence include participation in counseling, completion of rehabilitation programs, current employment, marital status, and community service.

A Fairfield County Immigration Lawyer Can Help

If you are inadmissible to the U.S. due to a criminal record, an experienced Stamford immigration attorney can review your case and help you determine whether you can receive a waiver of inadmissibility. Attorney Hector Gonzalez-Velez has helped many people overcome denials and succeed in making their way through the complex U.S. immigration process. Contact Gonzalez Law Office, LLC at 203-323-1440. 






Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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