According to INA §212(a)(7)(A)(i), any immigrant who, at the time of application for admission:
- who is not in possession of a valid unexpired immigrant visa, reentry permit, border crossing identification card, or other valid entry document required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, and a valid unexpired passport, or other suitable travel document, or document of identity and nationality if such document is required under the INS regulations, or
- whose visa has been issued without compliance with the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
A waiver is available under INA §212(k) where the Attorney General is satisfied that the exclusion was not known to, and could not have been ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence by, the immigrant before the time of departure of the vessel or aircraft from the last port outside the United States and outside foreign contiguous territory or, in the case of an immigrant coming from foreign contiguous territory, before the time of the immigrant's application for admission.
Under INA §212(a)(7)(B)(i), any nonimmigrant who:
- is not in possession of a passport valid for at least six months from the date of expiration of the initial period of the alien's admission or contemplated initial period of stay authorizing the alien to return to the country from which the alien came or to proceed to some other country during such period; or
- is not in possession of a valid nonimmigrant visa or border crossing identification card at the time of application for admission
A general waiver is authorized under INA §212(d)(4):
- on the basis of unforeseen emergency in an individual case;
- on the basis of reciprocity with respect to nationals of foreign contiguous territory or of adjacent islands and residents thereof having common nationality with such nationals (Canadian citizens and landed immigrants of Canada having British commonwealth citizenship are therefore exempt from visa and passport requirements except in the case of K-1 and E-1/E2 nonimmigrant visas); or
- in the case of aliens proceeding in immediate and continuous transit through the United States pursuant to landing agreement contracts entered into by common carriers.
A waiver is also authorized for visitors to Guam and certain nationals entering as visitors under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.