USA_Passport_StampThere are a number of complicated legal issues foreign individuals will need to address before entering the United States or its territories—even if they are on a temporary nonimmigrant visa. The good news is that there are certain waivers for grounds of inadmissibility that can help to ease the process for foreign nationals.

Most of these waivers are highly specific, but the Hranka waiver applies to the broadest variety of people. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), an individual who wishes to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant, but who is ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa or otherwise admissible, may still be admitted into the country at the discretion of U.S. immigration authorities. This clause is referred to as the Hranka waiver because it arose out of a major immigration case: Matter of Hranka.

Considerations for entrance

Under the Hranka waiver, there are three main factors immigration authorities must consider if they are to ultimately grant the waiver to the applicant:

  • If (or how much) risk of harm an admission of the applicant into the United States would have to society
  • The seriousness of any immigration or criminal violations by the applicant in the past
  • The reason why the applicant wishes to enter the United States

An applicant’s reasons for coming to the United States do not need to be compelling. The reason could be as simple as wanting to make social visits to friends or family. In other words, more than just workers or humanitarian aid missionaries are allowed through under Hranka waivers.

Although immigration authorities are allowed to deny a Hranka waiver at any time for any reason, they may also approve a Hranka waiver at any time for just about any reason. Even if applicants are below the bar for admissibility under other circumstances, they still have a chance to make a case to immigration officials about why they should be allowed to visit the country.

This is not to say that there are no grounds for admissibility under Hranka. For example, immigration authorities will not let an applicant into the country if there is reasonable grounds to believe he or she is attempting to come to the United States specifically for unlawful reasons. People who have participated in extrajudicial killings, genocide, Nazi-related activity or torture will also be summarily denied.

If you wish to apply for a Hranka waiver, you may request one from a consular office while applying for a visa. If you already have a valid visa, you may apply for the waiver at a United States Port of Entry using Form I-192. Consult an immigration attorney for further information and guidance on this issue.


BoltNagi is a widely respected and established immigration law firm serving individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.