How to Become Legal: Ineligibility

We have outlined the detailed process of obtaining citizenship in the United States.  But who is ineligible of becoming a citizen?  Here is a list of the classes of non-citizens who are ineligible to receive visas, according to FindLaw and the Immigration and Nationality Act:

Health-Related Grounds

  • Any immigrant who is determined to have a communicable disease of public health significance, including AIDS.
  • Any immigrant who seeks admission as an immigrant (or who seeks adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent resident) and who has failed to present documentation of having received vaccination against certain preventable diseases, including: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B and hepatitis B.  An exception to ineligibility under this class exists for certain adopted children 10 years of age or younger.
  • Any immigrant who is determined to have a physical or mental disorder (and associated behavior) that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of him/herself or others, or is likely to recur or to lead to other harmful behavior.
  • Any immigrant who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict.

Criminal and Related Grounds

  • Any immigrant convicted of, or who admits having committed, almost any type of crime (other than a purely political offense), EXCEPT if the crime was committed when the alien was under 18, AND was committed (and the alien released from incarceration) more than 5 years before the date of application for visa or admission to the U.S., AND the maximum penalty possible for the crime did not exceed imprisonment for one year, AND if convicted the alien was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of 6 months.
  • Any immigrant who has committed a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any state, federal, or foreign country’s law relating to certain controlled substances.
  • Any immigrant convicted of 2 or more offenses (other than purely political offenses), regardless of whether the conviction was in a single trial or whether the offenses arose from a single incident, for which the sentence to confinement was 5 years or more.
  • Any immigrant who is known to be, or suspected of being, an illicit trafficker in any controlled substance (and certain spouses and children of these individuals, when the family member received financial benefit).
  • Any immigrant who is engaged in prostitution, or has been engaged in prostitution within 10 years of the date of application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status.
  • Certain immigrants involved in serious criminal activity who have asserted immunity from prosecution.
  • Significant traffickers in persons, or beneficiaries of trafficking.
  • Immigrants engaged in money laundering.

Security and Related Grounds

  • Any immigrant believed to be seeking to enter the United States to engage in activity relating to the overthrow of the government, espionage, sabotage, or to violate laws prohibiting the export of certain goods, technology, or sensitive information.
  • Any immigrant who has engaged in a terrorist activity, is a representative of a foreign terrorist organization, or other similar group.
  • An immigrant whose entry or proposed activities in the United States would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.
  • Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party.
  • Any immigrant who participants in nazi persecutions or genocide during the period beginning on March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945.

Likely to Become “Public Charge”

Any immigrant who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible, considering factors including the applicant’s age, health, family status, assets, financial status, education, and skills.

Labor Certification and Qualifications for Certain Immigrants

Any immigrant who seeks to enter the U.S. to perform skilled or unskilled labor is inadmissible, unless the Secretary of Labor makes certain determinations regarding the impact on U.S. workers and the economy. This ineligibility class is subject to a number of exceptions.

Aliens Previously Removed, and Individuals in Violation of Immigration Laws

Certain aliens who were previously removed from the U.S., certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the U.S., and certain individuals who are in violation of U.S. immigration laws, including documentation requirements.

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