NONIMMIGRANT (HRANKA) VISA WAIVERS
You may be eligible for a nonimmigrant visa waiver or INA § 212(d)(3)(A) waiver (i.e. Hranka Waiver). A nonimmigrant visa waiver under INA § 212(d)(3)(A) can be used to overcome almost any ground of inadmissibility found in INA § 212(a). This means that if you have been told you cannot enter the United States, because of prior unlawful presence in the U.S., criminal convictions, fraud or willful misrepresentations, health-related grounds, or smuggling. You can often qualify for an nonimmigrant visa waiver even if you do not qualify for an immigrant visa waiver.
The nonimmigrant visa waiver’s eligibility criteria are flexible. There are three factors that must be considered and balanced in deciding whether to approve or deny a nonimmigrant waiver request. These factors come from the Matter of Hranka and are:
- The risk of harm to society if you were allowed to enter the United States;
- The seriousness of your prior immigration or criminal law violations, if any; and
- Your reasons for seeking to enter the United States.
For most nonimmigrant visa applications, you will have to overcome the strong presumption of immigrant intent. This requires you to show significant ties outside the United States that will effectively compel your timely departure from the United States and deter you from violating the terms of your visa.
Your reasons for wishing to enter the United States do not have to be “compelling.” You can apply for an INA § 212(d)(3)(A) for any legitimate purpose including family visits, tourism, employment, medical treatment, and school attendance. However, the decision-maker has discretion to approve or deny a waiver request. While the nonimmigrant visa waiver’s eligibility criteria are flexible, these waivers are difficult to get especially if you have been convicted of serious crimes or have a history of immigration law violations. The more recent these criminal convictions or immigration violations, the more difficult it is to receive a waiver.
Working with an experienced immigration attorney is important as there is no formal process to appeal a request for a nonimmigrant visa waiver. Otherwise, your only recourse is to file a new waiver request when your circumstances change or when you have more evidence to support your request.