An inadmissibility ground is something in an Immigrant’s past which prevents the issuance of a U.S. visa. The United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) lists several grounds on which a consular officer can find applicants ineligible for a visa and inadmissible to the United States. Common grounds of ineligibility include health or criminal grounds, terrorist-related activities, security and foreign policy, fraud/misrepresentations, public charge issues, alien smugglers, aliens previously removed, and additional miscellaneous grounds.
Criminal and Related Grounds
An applicant is inadmissible if convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) or a violation of some laws or regulations relating to a controlled substance (illegal drug). Generally, CIMTs include crimes against property (arson, blackmail, burglary, larceny, robbery, fraud, theft), crimes committed against governmental authority (bribery, tax evasion, perjury, fraud against the government), and crimes against persons (serious assaults, gross indecency, kidnapping, murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape). The determination of whether a crime is a CIMT is a matter of U.S. law, regardless of where the CIMT took place.
Other grounds that would make an applicant inadmissible include conviction of two or more offenses who are sentenced to 5 years or more years of confinement, illegal drug traffickers, prostitutes and applicants coming to U.S. to engage in prostitution or any unlawful commercial vice (including, but not limited to, illegal gambling), engaged in trafficking in persons, and engaged in money laundering.
Terrorist Activities and Security and Foreign Policy Grounds
Those who have engaged or are likely to engage in terrorist activities will also be ineligible for a visa and inadmissible to the United States. Moreover, terrorist activities include applicants who represent a group that endorses terrorist activity or who are members of a terrorist organization. Applicants can be inadmissible based on security and foreign policy grounds if one seeks to enter the U.S. to engage in unlawful activity or if the U.S. Government has reason to believe applicant’s entry into the U.S. would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the U.S.
An applicant can be inadmissible based on misrepresentation grounds if an applicant who by, fraud or willful misrepresentation of an important fact, sought to obtain a visa or admission into the U.S. This includes any applicant who falsely represents him/herself to be a U.S. citizen.
Health Related Grounds
Visa applicants who are not eligible for a visa on heath related grounds include aliens afflicted with a contagious disease of public heath concern, applicants who have a physical or mental disorder with harmful behavior, lack of required vaccinations, and drug abusers and addicts.
Public Charge Grounds
An applicant who is likely to become a public charge is inadmissible to the U.S. A public charge means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for survival. A number of factors are considered such as age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education and skills.
Alien Smugglers and Aliens Previous Removed
Those who have knowingly encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted or aided any other alien to enter or try to enter the U.S. and applicants who have been previously ordered removed from the U.S. and who seeks admission are also inadmissible.
Among the applicants who are inadmissible to the U.S. based on miscellaneous grounds include practicing polygamists, international child abductors, unlawful voters, and former U.S. citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation.
Waivers of ineligibility are available for some visa applicants. However, determinations of ineligibility for a visa and inadmissibility to the U.S. and the availability of waivers for certain grounds of inadmissibility can be very complex. Those who believe they may fall into one of the grounds of inadmissibility should obtain legal advice prior to considering an application for a visa to the United States.
Why it pays to use a law firm with local experience: While immigration officers around the world and in Washington D.C. strive to apply inadmissibility and waiver law uniformly, the reality is that regional adjudication procedures can play a large role in inadmissibility findings and in the issuance of waivers.