Filing for an I-192 Waiver: "Forgiveness" of U.S. Inadmissibility

For immigrants who've been deemed "inadmissible", a waiver may allow them entry into the U.S.

You may have heard of Form I-192 or the concept of a waiver in U.S. immigration law. The waiver is generally a form of forgiveness given by U.S. immigration authorities to persons who are "inadmissible" under immigration law. Persons who have committed certain criminal acts, contracted certain communicable diseases, undertaken certain types of international offenses, or otherwise have specific types of events in their past can be considered "inadmissible" under U.S. immigration law and barred from entering the United States.

Inadmissible aliens may ask U.S. immigration officials to "forgive" their inadmissibility and allow them to enter the United States. This is done through a waiver. Form I-192 is an application for a specific type of waiver that allows certain inadmissible foreign nationals to seek forgiveness from U.S. immigration for their inadmissibility and enter the U.S. on a temporary, nonimmigrant basis.

Before you rush to the USCIS website to grab this form, you should know that the persons who can benefit from a Form I-192 waiver are in a narrow cross-section of people. First, you must be a nonimmigrant, meaning you must have no intent to permanently stay in the U.S. and you must return to your country of origin when your permitted U.S. stay is over. The scrutiny applied by immigration officials towards waiver applicants on nonimmigrant intent is extremely high.  You are already asking the U.S. to forgive something for which immigration law would normally bar your entry; immigration officials will pore over your application, looking for any hints that you might intend to stay permanently.

Second, you must have valid U.S. entry documents already, be seeking T or U status, or be a full Canadian citizen in order to use Form I-192. Generally, this means you must already have a valid U.S. visa stamp in your passport or present compelling proof that you satisfy under the other qualifications.

Let’s take a look at these four options in more detail.

Possessing Valid U.S. Entry Documents

You can use Form I-192 if you already have a valid U.S. visa stamp in your passport. This necessarily means that you must have applied for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Depending on the particular circumstances in your case, this could mean that you were still admissible at the time you applied for your visa or that, despite your inadmissibility, you convinced U.S. consular officials that you qualified for a visa. The situations in which this could occur are too numerous to mention and beyond the scope of this article. However, one fairly common situation where this can occur is in cases of certain communicable diseases.

U.S. immigration law and regulations say that foreign nationals with certain communicable diseases are inadmissible. However, if you are seeking treatment for a medical condition and can demonstrate to immigration officials that the necessary treatment is available only in the United States, you may be able to apply for a waiver using Form I-192.

If you already have valid entry documents but require an inadmissibility waiver, you can file Form I-192 with a U.S. port of entry or pre-screening facility, at a land border entry point, seaport, or airport, in advance of your travel. Contact an immigration attorney if you believe your case falls into this scenario.

Holding T Nonimmigrant Status

T nonimmigrant status is a particular immigration category accorded by the U.S. to victims of human trafficking. The law says that you can enter the U.S. in T status on a temporary, nonimmigrant basis if you can demonstrate that:

  • you are or had been forced or defrauded into sex trafficking, slavery, or similar bondage
  • you are physically in the U.S. or her territories because of such trafficking
  • you have reasonably complied with U.S. law enforcement to aid in the investigation and/or prosecution of human traffickers; and
  • you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were to leave the U.S.

As you can see, you must have a narrow, and admittedly serious, set of circumstances to qualify for T status. If you do qualify for T status but are otherwise inadmissible, you can file your petition for T nonimmigrant status and Form I-192 for a waiver with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Vermont Service Center. You should contact an immigration attorney if you believe you qualify for T status.

Holding U Nonimmigrant Status

U nonimmigrant status is similar to T status. U status gives certain foreign nationals the ability to temporarily stay in the U.S. if they are victims of particularly serious crimes.  The requirements you must show for U status are as follows:

  • you have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of being the victim of certain serious crimes
  • you have credible and reliable information showing that you have knowledge of the details of the crime against you
  •  you have been or are being helpful to U.S. law enforcement investigating that crime; and
  •  the crime occurred in the U.S. or her territories.

Like T nonimmigrant status, U status is difficult to qualify for. As with the T nonimmigrant petition, you can file a U petition along with your Form I-192 waiver application with the USCIS Vermont Service Center. Contact an immigration attorney if you believe you qualify for U status.

Being a Canadian Citizen

Full Canadian citizens do not require a U.S. visa or other entry document, aside from a valid Canadian passport, to enter the United States. However, Canadian citizens can still be inadmissible. Generally, Canadian citizens seeking to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants can file Form I-192 with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at the port of entry or airport through which they plan to travel to the United States. If you are a Canadian citizen in this situation, you should file Form I-192 well in advance of any planned travel.

How to Prepare Form I-192

You are asking the U.S. to forgive something that would otherwise bar you from entry.  Your Form I-192 should give compelling reasons, backed by strong evidence, that will convince U.S. immigration officials to grant you such a waiver.

The evidence you will need to submit with Form I-192 depends largely on why you are inadmissible in the first place. For example, if you are inadmissible for a prior criminal conviction, you should submit a written statement explaining the crime and the details of your conviction. You should also submit official court records from your conviction, including court records, pleas, and other relevant documents. If you are applying for a waiver of medical inadmissibility, your statement should describe, in detail, your medical condition and why treatment can only be found in the United States. You should also present any relevant medical records of your condition that can aid immigration officials in evaluating a waiver.

You'll want to consider talking to an immigration attorney, because the process and evidence necessary to successfully apply for these types of waivers can be complicated.

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