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Legal Information: Federal


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Laws current as of August 15, 2022

What are the grounds of inadmissibility? How can they affect me?

Most people who want to enter the U.S. or get legal status in the U.S. must show they are not prohibited (barred) by a long set of rules called the “grounds of inadmissibility.”1 This is also true for U visa petitioners. These rules are very complicated and your lawyer will need to know what the immigration courts and federal courts have said about them in order to understand whether any of the inadmissibility grounds may apply to you.

If you run into problems with one or more of the grounds of inadmissibility, you can apply for a waiver with your U visa petition. Then, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider the pros and cons of your waiver application and decide whether or not to excuse (“waive”) the inadmissibility ground(s) by granting you a waiver. A waiver can be granted if “it is in the national or public interest” do to so.2 USCIS denies many waivers, which means it also denies U visas for many petitioners asking for waivers. This is one main reason you must work with an immigration lawyer or advocate who knows about U visas.

1 To read the list of inadmissibility grounds, go to INA § 212 on our Selected Federal Statutes page
2 INA § 212(d)(14); 8 CFR § 212.17(b)(1)