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Grounds of Inadmissibility

Not every person applying for a non-immigrant visa is allowed to enter the U.S. If you currently reside outside the U.S. and require a visa stamp to enter the U.S., you may be asked a series of questions by the U.S. embassy or consulate to deem if you and your dependents are eligible to enter the U.S. This document provides general information on common grounds that make an individual inadmissible to the U.S.

For more information on grounds of inadmissibility or what might make you ineligible to enter the U.S., refer to the U.S. Department of State or contact the U-M International Center at 734.763.4081.

You may be deemed inadmissible if you:

  • Have ever been charged, arrested, or convicted of an offense or crime prior to entering the U.S.
  • Have ever unlawfully distributed or sold drugs.
  • Have ever been afflicted with a communicable disease of public health significance, been a drug abuser or addict, or had a dangerous physical or mental disorder.
  • Have ever been a J-1 Exchange Visitor who was subject to the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement (212e) and have not yet complied with that requirement or obtained a waiver (only if petitioning for an H-1B visa or permanent residency).
  • Have attended a U.S. public elementary school or public secondary school on F-1 status after November 30, 1996 without reimbursing the school. (Note: Congress passed a law in 1996 [Section 625 of Public Law 104-208] that requires F-1 students to pay the cost of public secondary education [high school].)
  • Have ever violated the terms of a U.S. visa, been refused admission to the U.S., or been the subject of a deportation or removal hearing.
  • Have ever knowingly helped someone enter the U.S. in violation of the law.
  • Have fraudulently or willfully misrepresented a material fact to seek a visa or other immigration benefit in the United States.
  • Are withholding custody of a U.S. citizen child outside the U.S. from the person granted custody of that child by a U.S. court.
  • Have ever been unlawfully present in the U.S. after your authorized period of stay has expired.
  • Intend to violate or evade any law preventing the export of goods, technology, or sensitive information.
  • Have voluntarily been a member of, or affiliated with, any communist party or any other totalitarian party.

Last reviewed: 11/15