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Waivers of Visa Ineligibilities

Visa Denials

Every immigrant visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After all available information is reviewed; the application is approved or denied based on U.S. immigration law.

There are many reasons why an immigrant visa application may be denied. In some instances, the application is denied because necessary information or supporting documents were not submitted by the applicant. In other instances, the application is denied for more serious reasons. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant permanently ineligible for a visa.

If your visa is denied, the applicant will be given a reason based on the applicable section of law. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their inadmissibility. For more information, review the complete list of Visa Ineligibilities.

Waivers of Visa Ineligibility (for Immigrant Visa and Fiancé (K) Visa)

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) contains provisions that may allow a visa applicant who was denied a visa for a particular ineligibility to apply for a waiver of that ineligibility. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) adjudicates all waivers of ineligibility. Waivers are discretionary, meaning that there are no guarantees that DHS will approve a waiver for you. If the waiver is approved, you may be issued a visa.

How to Apply

Immigrant Visa and K Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants – The consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you applied will advise you if you may apply for a waiver of your ineligibility.

If you are eligible to apply for a waiver and wish to apply, you must mail Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, directly to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Lockbox facility, with few exceptions. Learn more on the USCIS website.

Notification by Email

You may request an email or text message confirming the receipt of your waiver application by completing and attaching Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.

Case Status

During the adjudication, you will be able to view your case status online by searching the USCIS receipt number (which is located on the receipt notice). You can also call the USCIS National Customer Service Center to request your case status.

For more information, visit State Department website: Visa Denials

Former Exchange Visitors (J visa)

Exchange visitors may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The J-1 visa will indicate whether or not the recipient of the visa is subject to this requirement. Exchange visitors who are subject to 212(e) and are unable to return to your home country to fulfill the two-year requirement, you must obtain a waiver approved by the DHS prior to being issued a visa in certain categories for travel to the U.S. For more information, visit the Waiver of the Exchange Visitor.