I-212 Waivers

I-212 Eligibility

Foreign nationals found inadmissible to the United States based on sections 212(a)(9)(A) or 212(a)(9)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) must file USCIS Form I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission After Deportation or Removal.

Form I-212 is a waiver request that allows such foreign nationals to seek consent from the United States government to apply for lawful re-admission to the United States after having been deported or removed. You may not return to the United States until your I-212 application has been filed with the Department of Homeland Security and is subsequently approved. Failure to do so may result in permanent inadmissibility from the United States.

The I-212 waiver is only one of many waivers that can provide relief for immigration violations under U.S. immigration law, however, only individuals who have been found inadmissible under sections 212(a)(9)(A) or 212(a)(9)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) may apply for the I-212 waiver. The applicant must file the I-212 waiver from outside of the United States and remain abroad for a continuous period. If you are inadmissible under another section of the law, you must apply for a different waiver type.

Foreign nationals who have been deported/removed from the United States whether voluntary or mandatory have committed an immigration violation and are thus inadmissible and barred from seeking a United States visa (immigrant or non-immigrant) for a specified number of years. The amount of time a foreign national is deemed inadmissible or ‘barred’ from seeking re-entry depends on the reason for the individual’s removal, circumstances surrounding their removal, and period of unlawful presence. Individuals may be barred from seeking admission to the United States for five, ten, twenty years, or indefinitely. This means that because of the immigration violation committed, the applicant is required to remain abroad for a continuous period of time as required by the bar before seeking re-admission. Multiple immigration violations constitute multiple bars therefore it is important to fully disclose all crimes, misrepresentations, or fraud claims in the applicant’s immigration history.

Foreign nationals who enter or attempt to re-enter the United States unlawfully after having been previously ordered removed from the United States or after having accrued more than one year of unlawful presence in the United States will become permanently inadmissible under section 212(a)(9)(C) of the INA. Individuals who fall under this category will be required to wait until at least ten years have passed from their date of removal or last departure before filing the I-212 request, even if the applicant possesses a qualifying relative. Exceptions exist for foreign nationals who entered the United States prior to April 1, 1997. Such individuals are protected by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) which stipulates that “…foreign nationals who re-entered the United States prior to April 1, 1997 following their removal are not subject to the permanent bar”. Additionally, foreign nationals who have accrued unlawful presence prior to April 1, 1997 are immune from the permanent bar.

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There is no requirement for a qualifying family member. Relevant factors should include:

  • The basis for the deportation

  • The recency of the deportation

  • The length of residence in the United States

  • The moral character of the applicant

  • The applicant’s respect for law and order

  • Evidence of reform and rehabilitation

  • Family responsibilities of the applicant

  • Inadmissibility to the US under other sections of the law

  • Hardship to the applicant and to others

  • The need for their services in the U.S.

The I-212 Waiver is often submitted along with an I-601 Waiver. Contact our office if you would like assistance on determining whether you qualify for an I-212 waiver.