Written by attorney Nicklaus James Misiti

Adam Walsh Act Victory and 3 tips to get your waiver approved

Misiti Global, PLLC recently won a waiver for a US citizen petitioning spouse that was convicted of a crime against a minor. Below are some tips for getting your application approved. For anyone who doesn’t know the Adam Walsh Act (“AWA") prohibits individuals convicted of crimes against minors from petitioning for their foreign born spouse or other relatives to come to the United States as lawful residents. The AWA does allow for waiver if the petitioner can show they are not a threat to the beneficiary.

Here are some tips for getting your AWA waiver approved:

  1. Hire an attorney from the start and make sure they are experienced with the AWA. Many immigration attorneys are not even aware of the AWA until they receive a Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOID") in the mail and when they receive the NOID they often scramble to respond to it. If you have been convicted of a crime against a minor it is important to hire an attorney experienced with theses waivers from the outset. If you did not and you received a NOID or your case was denied you may want to find an attorney experienced with AWA. Your family is too important to leave in the hands of an inexperienced attorney.

  2. If you have other violent conviction you are going to have trouble getting an AWA waiver approved. This is because a violent history will not lend itself to you showing you are not a threat to your spouse or family member. Also, if the potential beneficiary is a minor you will have a higher burden in showing you are not a threat to them. Thus, if you have other violent convictions or are including a minor in your application you are going to have a much more difficult time.

  3. You should show evidence of rehabilitation. If you have completed sex offender rehabilitation, this should be noted in your application. Similarly, when you go to have an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist make sure your attorney speaks with them first and make sure they concentrate on whether or not you are a threat to your spouse. A common error is for the psychiatrist to focus on whether the applicant is a risk for recidivism. They will run a number of tests and possibly conclude the person is an elevated risk to re-offend but this has nothing to do with whether they are a threat to their family member. The psychiatrist should focus solely on whether you are a risk to the beneficiary.

The most important step in obtaining a positive outcome to your AWA waiver request is to work with an attorney from the outset.

Law offices of Nicklaus Misitil, PLLC, owned by Nicklaus Misiti ( is experienced in these types of waivers. For an initial case evaluation contact Atty Nicklaus Misiti ( 212 537 4407 or fill out the form on our website

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