Chapter 2 - Forms of Relief

A. Waivers

In general, applicants for immigration benefits must establish that they are admissible to the United States. If an applicant for an immigration benefit is inadmissible to the United States, USCIS may only grant the benefit if the applicant receives a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief provided in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). [1] In general, if the INA uses the term waiver, the applicant must apply for the waiver by filing the correct application.

USCIS may only grant a waiver if the applicant meets all statutory and regulatory requirements.

There are instances in which an officer may adjudicate a waiver without asking the applicant to file a form. For example, an officer may adjudicate certain waivers of inadmissibility for a refugee or an asylee seeking adjustment of status without the applicant filing a waiver application. In these circumstances, the officer must still clearly document the waiver determination in the record.

B. Exceptions or Exemptions

A statute may provide for an exception or exemption from a ground of inadmissibility. [2] If the noncitizen’s action or circumstance meets the requirements of an exception or exemption, then the ground of inadmissibility does not apply and the noncitizen is not inadmissible on that ground. Unlike a waiver, an exemption or exception generally does not require that a noncitizen file an application.

C. Consent to Reapply

Permission to reapply for admission into the United States after deportation or removal, also known as “consent to reapply,” is not a waiver. [3] Consent to reapply is a distinct remedy that permits a noncitizen to seek admission. If the statute specifies that the noncitizen must obtain consent to reapply to overcome the inadmissibility, a waiver of inadmissibility is not a substitute for consent to reapply. [4] 


[^ 1] See Pub. L. 82-414 (June 27, 1952).

[^ 2] Exception and exemption both mean that the specific inadmissibility ground does not apply if the applicant establishes that the terms of the exception or exemption apply.

[^ 3] See Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (Form I-212) (used to seek consent to reapply). See the form instructions for more information.

[^ 4] See INA 212(a)(9)(A). See INA 212(a)(9)(C)

Current as of July 26, 2021