An Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is an application for legal entry to the United States made by an individual who is otherwise inadmissible because of such situations as:

  • Poor health
  • Criminal conviction
  • Security violations
  • Illegal entry


This could include communicable disease such as tuberculosis or leprosy or certain mental disorders. The category also includes people who will not receive required vaccinations.

For example, United States immigration law requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations prior to the issuance of a visa:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Influenza type b (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pneumococcal
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Varicella


Criminal Conviction

This could involve a crime of moral turpitude or a controlled substance violation. A controlled substance violation might involve simple possession of a small amount of marijuana, which remains a federal crime though some states have legalized the use and possession of these small amounts.

Security Violations

This could include being involved in any way with terrorism or being a member of a Communist regime.

Illegal Entry

This could include those who entered the country illegally or those who originally entered legally but stayed past their permitted timeframe such as a person entering on a valid visa but not departing on time.

If the applicant is inadmissible because they have been unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days, they may apply for a Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility on Form I-601. However, an applicant may not be eligible to apply for this waiver if they were unlawfully present in the United States for more than one year and then left the United States and returned without being admitted. To qualify, the applicant must establish that their U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if the application were denied.

Examples of extreme hardship include:

  • Your spouse or parent has a medical condition and depends on you for care.
  • Your spouse or parent is financially dependent on you and you will not be able to provide adequate support from overseas.
  • Your spouse or parent has financial debts in the United States and cannot pay them without your support.
  • Your spouse or parent has another sick family member and will be unable to care for that person without your support.

Applicants may download Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility from the USCIS website. Issues surrounding waivers of grounds of inadmissibility may be complex. The filing fee for Form I-601 is currently $585.
If you may fall into one of the categories of inadmissibility and desire to apply for citizenship, consult an experienced immigration attorney. It is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney when you prepare an I-601 waiver request based on inadmissibility for advice and assistance on the best way to do so to increase your opportunity to submit a successful application. Also, an attorney can assist you in identifying and collecting the best evidence to support your arguments.