Waiver Of Passport And/or Visa (I-193 Waiver)
Author: Immigration Waiver Attorney Alena Shautsova
Admission laws and regulations state that one who is coming to the United States must be in possession of valid entry documents, such as a passport or a travel document, a visa or lawful permanent resident card, parole, etc. An airline would not board a passenger whose documents are expired…most of the time.
What to do if one started travel with the documents, but the documents were lost or stolen? What if a person utilized a different way of transportation, not an airline, and there was no a pre-boarding check?
The answer depends on the particular documents missing and circumstances. If one’s lawful permanent green card was lost or stolen, but was still valid, and the person is overseas, he/she would need to contact the United States consulate and ask for a boarding foil.
However, when it is a non-immigrant who is seeking an admission into the US, a waiver might be available.
If it is one’s passport or visa that is missing, or expired (while travelling of course and by accident), one may consider using an I-193 non-immigrant waiver. The grounds for the waiver would be unforeseen emergency, on the basis of reciprocity, or because there is a contract with the transportation line to permit TWOVs (transit without waiver). To wit: medical emergency, as an emergency or rescue worker in response to catastrophe in the US; accompanying or following to join a person with a medical emergency; visiting a spouse, child or parent who became critically ill or died within the past 5 days; appearing at the POE without valid documents because they were lost or stolen within 48 hour of departing the last port of embarkation to the US. Also, other emergencies and situations may be considered as grounds of the waiver.
A waiver under this section may also be granted to a person whose visa was cancelled under INA §222(g).
Note: the waiver may be granted only for true and unforeseen emergencies. A district director or a CBP officer would have to come to specific findings that the emergency could not be in fact foreseen by a reasonable person for the waiver to be granted. I-193 waiver is a last resort in difficult, urgent situations, rather than a visa substitution.