There are 2 different inadmissibility grounds for lack of passport: one for nonimmigrant applicants and one for immigrant applicants under INA §212(a)(7)(A) & (B).
T Visa Stage
A lack of passport is an inadmissibility ground under INA 212(a)(7)(B). In the past, many advocates did not send waivers because Vermont Service Center (VSC) was allowing T applicants deference. However, VSC has requested that T applicants file a waiver as legally required. To see our sample response to the passport inadmissibility ground, review our sample I-192 attachment.
When a T holder files for adjustment of status, they are applying for immigrant status. This means that if they do not have passport they could potentially inadmissible under INA 212(a)(4)(A) for lack of passport for immigrants. This is a new and separate inadmissibility ground and they cannot be granted an extension of the original waiver they received at the T visa application phase. However, Ortiz-Bouchet v. U.S. Att’y Gen., 714 F.3d 13 provides that this inadmissibility ground doesn't apply because AOS is not an admission. ("We have previously held that the definition of 'admission' in 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h) is unambiguous and 'does not encompass a post-entry adjustment of status.'...We now hold the same in regards to § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I)."). We would argue that based on the outcome of Ortiz-Bouchet this inadmissibility ground does not apply to folks applying for T visa AOS.
Addressing the Inadmissibility Ground at Adjustment Phase
We recommend including a brief statement in the declaration that the applicant is unable to renew their passport, does not have a current one, and has made good faith attempts to obtain one. A detailed explanation is not necessary as to the reasons why they are unable to obtain one. If the applicant did not have a passport at the T visa stage and a waiver of inadmissibility was submitted for the lack of passport, we would also recommend stating that the lack of passport was disclosed and waived at the T visa phase.
If you have any additional questions, please reach out to us for individual technical assistance through our Technical Assistance Form.