Inadmissibility Grounds: Understanding Key Barriers to US Entry

Learn about inadmissibility grounds according to US immigration law and how Tadeo & Silva Law can assist you in navigating complex legal challenges.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: May 17, 2024.

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Imagine that your dreams of a new life in the land of opportunity are halted at the border. Many face a stark reality when confronted with the US immigration system’s inadmissibility grounds. 

Navigating this complex web, where one misstep can mean the difference between entry and exclusion, requires a deep understanding of immigration law. “Inadmissibility” refers to legal barriers that prevent individuals from entering the United States or adjusting their status. The repercussions of being deemed inadmissible can be severe and long-lasting and can obstruct paths to residency, employment, and family unity.

With over 60 different grounds for inadmissibility on the books, you could fall under the purview of these stringent regulations without even realizing it. 

They range from health-related issues, prior immigration violations, and security concerns to public charge considerations. Unpacking the layers of inadmissibility illuminates the fact that many of these grounds can be waived or remedied, but only with the correct approach and legal knowledge.

At Tadeo & Silva Law, we bring to the table an arsenal of experience and a commitment to guide those entangled in the labyrinth of inadmissibility. We believe in empowering our clients with the tools and insights necessary to address their immigration concerns proactively. 

Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you navigate the grounds of inadmissibility. 

Common Grounds of Inadmissibility

When discussing entry into the United States, various factors can render a person inadmissible. These inadmissibility grounds are detailed within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and can significantly impact an individual’s visa or permanent residency eligibility. 

Health-Related Grounds 

Under US immigration law, certain infectious diseases are considered grounds of inadmissibility. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Tuberculosis
  • Leprosy
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea

Applicants are also required to show proof of vaccinations for various diseases as part of the admission process. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “Some vaccines are expressly required by statute. Others are required because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined they are in the interest of public health.” 

The INA requires vaccines such as mumps, measles, rubella, and polio, while the CDC requires additional vaccines like varicella, influenza, COVID-19, etc. The full list is in Chapter 9 of the USCIS policy manual. 

Other health-related concerns that may affect admissibility include physical or mental disorders with associated harmful behaviors and substance abuse issues. 

The USCIS resource on unlawful presence and inadmissibility may be helpful for more information on health-related inadmissibility and unlawful presence consequences.

Criminal Grounds 

Criminal grounds of inadmissibility primarily involve crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and controlled substance violations. These range from certain theft crimes to offenses like drug trafficking. Each criminal ground has its own set of legal intricacies, which can be complex to navigate.

Security and Terrorist Concerns

US immigration laws also define inadmissibility grounds relating to terrorism and national security concerns. Applicants are subjected to rigorous background checks to ensure they do not pose a threat. Chapter 2 of the USCIS policy manual provides more information. 

Public Charge 

Another significant inadmissibility factor is the likelihood of an individual becoming a public charge. Immigration officers assess whether an applicant will likely require public assistance, considering factors such as health, age, financial status, education, and skills. Determining a public charge can be intricate; recent changes to the public charge rule, as detailed on USCIS’ website here, have made understanding the current landscape crucial. Section 212(a)(4) is a key section of the INA for in-depth guidance on public charge determinations.

You can read more about it in our blog here

Prior Immigration Violations 

Previous immigration law violations, such as past removals or illegal entry into the US, can also lead to inadmissibility. Unauthorized presence within the country beyond specified periods may result in a bar from re-entry for several years. Understanding one’s immigration history is essential when assessing admissibility, and it’s important to consider the repercussions of such violations. To learn more, have a look at the Justice Manual from the US Department of Justice and the USCIS Policy Manual, Chapter 4.  

Each of these grounds presents its own challenges and often requires legal knowledge to navigate. Understanding these grounds benefits individuals seeking entry or adjusting their status in the US.

Additional information can be found by consulting with an experienced immigration law firm.

Overcoming Inadmissibility With Immigration Waivers

Could one mistake jeopardize your chance at a life in the United States? Imagine the relief of knowing that even after a brush with inadmissibility, there’s hope in the form of immigration waivers.

These complex provisions are akin to a legal lifeline. They allow certain individuals who would otherwise not be permitted to enter or remain in the US to petition for reconsideration. Immigration waivers address a variety of inadmissibility grounds, from unlawful presence to misrepresentation.

Let’s navigate the intricate landscape of waivers:

  • I-601 Waiver: Often sought after by individuals facing inadmissibility due to past transgressions such as immigration fraud or criminal offenses. To qualify, applicants are generally required to prove that a US citizen or permanent resident family member would endure extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted.
  • I-601A Provisional Waiver: Designed primarily for those with unlawful presence issues. This waiver allows eligible family members of US citizens and permanent residents to apply for a waiver while in the United States before departing for their immigrant visa interview abroad.
  • I-212 Waiver: Also known as the “Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal,” the I-212 waiver is pertinent for individuals seeking entry after a previous deportation or removal.

A pivotal question remains: How does one demonstrate their case compellingly? Success may hinge on showing that the waiver’s denial would result in significant hardship and that the applicant deserves a second chance based on their individual merits.

At Tadeo & Silva Law, we’re keenly aware of these challenges and committed to navigating the complexities surrounding them.

Navigating the Waiver Process: How Tadeo & Silva Law Can Help

The immigration journey to the US brings unique challenges, with inadmissibility grounds creating significant roadblocks. Imagine confronting a complex maze, each turn governed by intricate laws and regulations. 

At Tadeo & Silva Law, we understand that navigating the waiver process can be daunting. 

Let’s imagine you’re eligible for a waiver. Our approach then is multi-faceted. We start by assessing the unique aspects of each case. Would a minor oversight regarding deportability grounds escalate into a major issue? This is a critical question we’ll help you answer.

Then, we proceed with meticulous care, assembling the necessary documentation to support the waiver application. Our experienced attorneys assist with compiling evidence and preparing a compelling narrative that addresses the grounds of inadmissibility.

We provide guidance and clarification throughout the waiver application process, ensuring clients understand each step. Our role extends beyond paperwork; we represent our clients before the immigration authorities, rigorously advocating for their cases.

The path through immigration law is strewn with complexities, and we at Tadeo & Silva Law are equipped to guide you through every twist and turn. With our legal assistance, the waiver process, while still complex, becomes a journey you do not have to face alone.

Get in Touch With Us

Are you facing the labyrinth of immigration laws and complex issues of inadmissibility? You’re not alone in this challenge. At Tadeo & Silva Law, our dedicated team understands the intricacies that are part of addressing inadmissibility grounds. We believe every case deserves keen attention and personalized guidance.

Our support encompasses a deep dive into the nuances of your case, leveraging our knowledge of immigration law. We’re ready to support and guide you through your immigration journey. It’s our goal to help you understand your legal position and work towards resolving any inadmissibility issues. 

Let’s shed light together on the path to your immigration objectives. Reach out to us today. By scheduling a consultation, we can begin dissecting your unique situation piece by piece to develop a comprehensive strategy.

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