The consulate’s role is primarily to determine admissibility to the United States. Individuals who are found inadmissible may be denied a visa, but may also qualify for a waiver of the ground of inadmissibility. The consulate will generally inform individuals if they are eligible for such waivers. Waivers may be available for both applicants of immigrant and nonimmigrant status. Waivable grounds of inadmissibility may include, but are not limited to:
- Certain health conditions;
- Certain criminal offenses;
- Unlawful presence;
- Unauthorized employment;
- Prior removal, deportation, or exclusion; and
- Violations of immigration status.
Waivers of inadmissibility for Immigrant Visas or Permanent Status generally require a finding of extreme hardship to a qualifying family member who is either a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident. Waiver applications have historically been accepted after the adjudication of an application at the consulate. However, presently in certain cases, waiver applications may be submitted and adjudicated in advance of the interview. Applications for waivers may be submitted through the consulate, but are usually forwarded to the US Department of Homeland Security service center either in the United States or with jurisdiction over the consulates locations. If the waiver application cannot be submitted in advance, the applicant will be prohibited from entering the United States until the waiver has been approved and the consulate grants the necessary visa.