If you’ve been deported or otherwise barred from entering the United States, you may still be eligible for a I-212 waiver permitting your admission into the country. An I-212 waiver can significantly impact your immigration journey, and it’s important to have an experienced immigration attorney help you with the application process. At Solano Law Firm, we can help.
What Is an I-212 Waiver?
U.S. Immigration and Customs Services (USCIS) imposes a strict set of bars that prevent certain immigrants from reentering the United States. They include:
- 5-Year Bar: You cannot re-enter the U.S. for at least five years if you were removed from the country upon arrival at a port entry or were placed into removal or deportation proceedings upon arrival (and then received an order of deportation from an immigration judge).
- 10-Year Bar: You cannot re-enter the U.S. for at least 10 years if you received an order of deportation from an immigration judge, you failed to comply with an order of voluntary departure, you left the U.S. voluntarily before your deportation proceedings ended.
- 20-Year Bar: You cannot re-enter the U.S. for at least 20 years if you’ve received more than one deportation order.
- Permanent Bar: You are permanently banned from the U.S. if you’ve been convicted of an aggravated felony, attempt to reenter the U.S. after living in the country without proper documents from more than 12 months, or attempt to reenter the country after being deported. If you’re unsure whether you face a permanent bar, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.
However, some immigrants can legally get around some of these bars if they are otherwise eligible for a visa.
Applying for an I-212 Waiver
To re-enter the United States while facing an active bar, you will need to successfully apply for an I-212 waiver. This requires submitting an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United State After Deportation or Removal (Form I-212).
This form, once approved by USCIS, does not expire, unless the agency revokes your I-212 waiver. For this reason, these waivers are vitally important to those facing immigration bars who wish to visit their loved ones living inside the United States. If you do not qualify for a waiver, you’ll have to wait outside the U.S. until your bar expires.
What Happens If USCIS Grants My I-212 Waiver?
If USCIS grants your I-212 immigration waiver, you’ll have the right to reapply for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa. This waiver does not reactivate a previous visa and you’ll need to obtain a new, valid visa before you re-enter the United States.
That means that USCIS will still have to assess your eligibility for a new immigrant or non-immigrant visa. Therefore, if you have other issues that may complicate your immigration journey, such as past criminal convictions, you should carefully assess your legal options before filing for a waiver.
Your other issues may still slow down or complicate your visa application, and it is best to understand these issues before you request a waiver or a new visa. An immigration attorney may be able to help you identify other USCIS immigration waiver programs that can help you legally re-enter the U.S., especially if you have a loved one within the country that faces extreme hardship if you’re unable to support them.
How Do I Apply for an I-212 Waiver?
In our current political climate, immigration procedures and laws are constantly changing. Before you initiate an I-212 waiver, you should consult with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer who can educate you about the most up-to-date eligibility criteria and application processes. At the current time, Form I-212 may require additional information and forms, such as including a concurrent I-601 waiver application, and other documentation.
If you’re applying for a non-immigrant visa, you’ll have to convince USCIS that your visit is really temporary. For example, you’ll have to show that you have significant ties in your home country, such as a job, family, or other obligations that prevent you from abandoning them.
Your actual I-212 application process will vary, depending on the type of visa you’re requesting and where you reside. Typically, you’ll file your application with either USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), or the Department of State.
Whether these agencies approve your I-212 application will depend on a variety of factors, including the circumstances that led up to your immigration bar, your behavior since that time, and the circumstances surrounding your request for re-entry. For example, if you can show that you’ve been rehabilitated, have a good moral character, and you have close family ties to the U.S., you may have a better chance of getting a waiver.