For many immigrants living in Florida, the path to U.S. citizenship or permanent residency begins with a visa application. As we discussed in an earlier post, there are many reasons an application for a U.S. visa could be denied. These include health reasons, conviction of certain crimes or a perceived threat to national security. Similarly, an application for legal permanent resident status -- a green card -- can be denied for any number of reasons.
Under some circumstances, individuals who have been deemed ineligible for a visa, green card, adjustment of status or other immigration benefit can obtain a waiver of the grounds of their ineligibility. The ineligible applicant can apply for a waiver by submitting Form I-601 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS.) Whether the USCIS will grant the waiver will depend on the facts of the individual case.
For example, a green card or visa application may be denied on health grounds if the applicant does not have proof of having received the necessary vaccinations. The USCIS may waive the vaccination requirements, however, on the basis of a medical certification that the vaccination would be medically inappropriate, or if the Department of Homeland Security makes a determination that the vaccination would violate the applicant's moral or religious beliefs.
Similarly, past affiliation with the Communist Party can render a person ineligible for a visa or green card. This basis for ineligibility may be waived on humanitarian grounds or if the applicant is deemed not to be a security threat.
An I-601 waiver is not granted automatically. A successful waiver application requires careful review of the facts and applicable law. Skilled advocacy by a knowledgeable immigration lawyer can make the difference in many cases.
Source: FindLaw, "What Is an I-601 Waiver?" accessed Dec. 18, 2016