Chapter 4 - Exceptions and Waivers

A. Applicability

Inadmissibility on account of false claim to U.S. citizenship does not apply to:

  • Special immigrant juveniles seeking adjustment of status;[1] and

  • Applicants for registry.[2] 

B. Exception[3]

In 2000, Congress added a narrow statutory exception to inadmissibility for false claim to U.S. citizenship.[4] Congress made the exception apply retroactively. 

The exception only applies to false claims to U.S. citizenship made on or after September 30, 1996, if the applicant satisfies the following requirements: 

  • Each parent of the applicant (or each adoptive parent in case of an adopted child) is or was a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization;

  • The applicant permanently resided in the United States prior to attaining the age of 16; and 

  • The applicant reasonably believed at the time of the representation that he or she was a U.S. citizen.

Each of the applicant’s parents had to be a U.S. citizen at the time of the false claim to U.S. citizenship to meet the first requirement of this exception.[5] 

C. Waiver[6]

The availability of a waiver to an inadmissibility ground depends on the immigration benefit. In general, there is no waiver for inadmissibility based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship[7] for noncitizens seeking lawful permanent resident status:​

  • As an immediate relative;​

  • Under an immigrant preference category (other than special immigrant juveniles);​

  • As a diversity immigrant;​

  • Under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966;[8] or​

  • Under any other statute that does not provide authority to waive the ground. ​

An officer may grant a waiver to a noncitizen seeking adjustment of status as a refugee or an asylee, as a legalization applicant, or under any other basis that specifically permits a waiver of this ground of inadmissibility.[9] 

​Inadmissibility based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship does not necessarily bar adjustment of status based on residence in the United States since before January 1, 1972.[10] It could, however, support a finding that the applicant is not a person of good moral character.

Nonimmigrants may seek permission to enter despite the inadmissibility.[11] 


[^ 1] See INA 245(h)(2)(A)

[^ 2] Registry is a section of immigration law that enables certain noncitizens who have been present in the United States since January 1, 1972, the ability to apply for lawful permanent residence even if currently in the United States unlawfully. See INA 249. See 8 CFR 249.

[^ 3] See INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(II).

[^ 4] See Section 201(b) of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), Pub. L. 106-395, 114 Stat. 1631, 1633(October 30, 2000).

[^ 5] See INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(II).

[^ 6] For more information, see Volume 9, Waivers and Other Forms of Relief [9 USCIS-PM]. 

[^ 7] See INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii).

[^ 8] See Pub. L. 89-732 (PDF) (November 2, 1966).

[^ 9] See INA 209(c). See INA 245A(d)(2)(B)(i).

[^ 10] See INA 249

[^ 11] Under INA 212(d)(3)(A).

Current as of September 16, 2021