Temporary Visa Waivers
If you plan to enter the United States as a tourist or using a temporary visa, you must be legally admissible to the United States. Some crimes will make an applicant inadmissible for entry to the United States even if they have an approved visa and would otherwise qualify for legal entry. Other issues that can prevent entry to the United States include previous immigration violations such as overstaying a visa, illegally residing in the United States after entering as a tourist, working illegally, a previous deportation, presenting false or fraudulent documents to an immigration officer, and/or falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen. There are alsohealth related grounds for inadmissibility as well as prior drug use.
If you have ever been deported, denied a visa or denied entry to the United States you should consult an immigration attorney before trying to return. If you have any history of the above issues, and believe you may require a waiver, our office can assist you with that process.
The first thing you will need to do is determine if you actually require a waiver for entry to the United States. Some issues will not require a waiveralthough you may need assistance clarifying that to a consular or border patrol officer. If you do require a waiver, you should prepare and submit the waiver application well in advance of your intended entry to the United States as processing times can be unpredictable and you may experience delays.
Consular officers have discretion in determining who will be recommended for a waiver. They will consider several factors including how recent the offense occurred, how serious the offense was, your current reasons for travel to the United States, the effect of your planned travel to the United States on public interest, any rehabilitation that has been completed, your character and whether you deserve to have a waiver granted. It will help you if youhave a stable job, character reference letters and an important reasonfor traveling to the United States. If you require a waiver for prior drug use, you will want to show that you have completed rehabilitation and are no longer using drugs.
Most waivers are valid for one year and will cover one entry. Sometimes it is possible to obtain a waiver that is valid for multiple entries. Waivers can be renewed indefinitely unless the applicant engages in behavior that would violate the terms of the waiver or require a new waiver.
Waivers for temporary visitors to the United States have different requirements than waivers for those applying for permanent status in the United States. If you require information on waivers for legal permanent residency in the United States, please see our information page relating to Green Cards and waivers.